Ever since I can remember, I have always been an athlete, whether I was running around on grass chasing a ball, running around on grass not chasing anything, or even skating on a sheet of ice chasing a small black hockey puck. Sports have always been a huge part of my life, but now for the first time they’re not the main focus.

A “NARP”, also known as non-athletic regular person, is a common term heard here at New England College. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a NARP, it just means that you choose to spend your time doing other things besides sports. That can mean doing some kind of sport outside of the school, but just not playing for a team affiliated with the college.

After losing in our last regular season ice hockey game on February 9, 2019 to the University of Southern Maine, I can officially start to call myself a “NARP”.

I am a four-year senior here at New England College, and for the first time in my college career, I am not affiliated with a sports team on campus. Wow, that one kicks ya right in the gut.

From growing up playing sports my whole life, to suddenly coming to a complete stop, my world has been thrown a huge curve ball. I used to wake up every day and plan my day around the practices, and the workouts, and all the extra team bonding activities. Now I wake up and I have the same schedule just on a repeat cycle, week by week.

I don’t have to eat a good meal the night before games, because I don’t have any games anymore. I don’t have to go to the training room to get my body ready for practices and games, because I don’t have those anymore. When my season ended, it wasn’t just my hockey career coming to an end, a part of me and some form of myself ended, and I became Katie, a NARP.

One of the major downsides to a part of my life coming to a complete standstill was the loss in drive; I started to lose the drive to keep myself busy during the day. I began to notice my days would be less and less productive. I wouldn’t get ahead on as much of my homework as before, I wouldn’t go to the gym and workout all the time, and the biggest standout to me, I became more tired than I ever was while I was in season. Weird that I started feeling more tired, especially when I finally have so much free time, and have plenty of time for naps. I think that after all my years of constantly being an athlete, it added up over time, and when I finally took a “break” it all hit me.

You might think that I’m making my “season” sound so much longer than it is, but truth is up until now, I have always been a part of a team, constantly doing things as if I were in full season. From the last day of the season ending last year, up until the first day of tryouts this year, I was still doing skating once or twice a week, and constantly going to the gym and working out. This was officially the first time I was “not in season,” because even when we weren’t having games, we were working just as hard to get ready for the upcoming season.

Finally having so much time to myself was a scary feeling: I had no idea what I was going to do with myself every day, and I was going to have to find a hobby, or even another job, but nothing seemed to interest me. Trying to get back into the swing of everyday life is challenging, but I’m working on it. One day at a time, I am slowly learning how to be a NARP.

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Katie is a senior Communication Studies student at New England College focusing on public relations. When she is not in class or writing for The New Englander, you can find her in the ice rink where she plays for the women's ice hockey team.
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