Sacrifice can be defined as, "the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy". I remember quite vividly in high school, a reporter asking me if I ever felt like I was sacrificing my teenage years to become an elite athlete. Without skipping a beat, I very confidently replied with, "No. It's not a sacrifice if I get to wake up each day and do what I love. There's nothing else I'd rather do." I remember surprising myself when I said it, instantly fearing that I came off as sassy to the kind reporter who was simply doing his job. But I was tired of hearing it - this talk of sacrifice. I often got the same remark from my peers in highschool, and this always (inadvertently on their part, of course), made me feel like an outsider.
Even in university, people continued to ask the sacrifice question. My classmates would give me a bewildered look when I explained that no, I didn't go out during reading week. No, I didn't attend Ceeps Saturday. And no, I wasn't at that party when someone set a car on fire. "Wow, you're missing out". I'd roll my eyes. Nope - still not a sacrifice.
Now that I have graduated and I am a full-fledged adult with responsibilities, I get it. I can finally admit that yes, maybe I am "giving up a few valued things for the sake fo something else" (still can't bring myself to use the word sacrifice). I've wondered every single day since I've graduated how on earth I'm going to do this. How am I going to make ends meet? How am I going to get a decent job related to my field of study when I have such limited availability? How will I get a decent job related to my field of study when I didn't pursue grad school? Will I not be able to really get my career going until I retire from sport (which could be up to another 9 years)? Fine. I guess I am making sacrifices. I'm sacrificing further education, I'm sacrificing a career, I'm sacrificing financial stability and thus some of the luxuries that come with having money (such as travelling).
BUT - that doesn't mean it's not worth it, and that doesn't mean I don't still love this sport with everything in me. I don't doubt for a single second that it's worth it. It's hard, and I know it will continue to be hard, but that's what makes this journey so fullfiling. I'm lucky, really, to have something that I'm passionate enough about to be willing to put other things on hold.
So, I guess the truth is I still agree with my sassy fifteen year old self. It's not [really] a sacrifice if I get to wake up each day and do what I love.