I can speak for myself when I say that transitioning from a 13 year career is sport has been one of the most challenging and confusing times of my life. Although many people struggle with transition and job finding/job satisfaction issues throughout their lives, the shift from high performance sport is a very heightened version of this experience. Going from top of the world to a needle in a haystack is a real shock to the system and can leave athletes, like myself, feeling lost and alone. The grief over the loss of identity you once had is overwhelming and confusing and it is hard to grasp that there are other athletes enduring this as it is happening to you. You feel like you are the weak one and every one else must be handling it better than you.
Sport teaches us to push ourselves beyond what you could easily imagine and to defy the physical limits put on the human body and spirt. We are also professionals at showing no weakness or pain, so when it comes time to move on it is hard to let these walls down and show vulnerability. We must communicate through this time with eachother and our support system.
I am excited to hear that help or more help is coming in the form of a program entitled Game Plan. With a solid mandate that I have quoted below,
"Game Plan is a holistic approach to athlete development and total wellness throughout an athlete’s high-performance sport career, and beyond. It is a world-class program to develop mentally stronger athletes who apply what they have learned as leaders in sport to the betterment of themselves and their communities."
This is a great initative for our future athletes. Sport teaches adaptability and perservearance. With assistance through this challenging time I believe we can accelerate high performance individuals who have given so much to sport through their inevitable transitions out and into the world to be successful business leaders, thought leaders and role models for all.
Scott Russel's article talks about this upcoming program further. I love his closing words,
"For now, it's about more than owning the podium and producing fleeting moments of glory. It's about charting a course whereby Olympians and Paralympians can remain contributors to the Canadian landscape long after their playing days are done."