Is the Pain Worth the Gain?

by Cassandra Lis

It is not a good feeling to have my freshman sister destroy me in almost every event. It is an equally terrible feeling to become slower and slower despite my pain increasing. Everyday, a new ache plagues my fragile body and misaligned spine. I stretch and crack and have people walk on me and massage and ice and heat. Yet, “the microchip has been compromised” and one pain leads to ten additional pains and several pulled muscles. Every aspect of swimming goes against my body’s nature. I do not want to be in pain. I want comfort and to be able to breathe. I want a sport that I feel secure about my abilities in.

I have swam since I was really young, and I do not want to give up on something I have done for so long. However, the pain is too much. Every practice, I mentally decide to quit swimming an upwards of 5 times, and then talk myself out of it 5 times. After every race, dots cloud my vision and I cannot stand up by myself. My legs give out halfway through whatever event I am in, and my arms even sooner. Heaving my body out of the pool, I look at a time that I would have easily beaten as a middle schooler, yet my exhausted body could not have moved any faster now.

What’s keeping me here? Honestly, very minimal. I am a stubborn person, and I wanted to see this sport that I used to love all the way through high school. But I don’t know if I can take another season. It’s a sport that I do not find any pleasure or joy in. Also, I feel that quitting would take away a part of who I am, despite the fact that I would love to never go to another swim practice again. I think I might have just done too many laps, and somewhere along the way, I stopped loving or caring about them.