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Sports Crazed: When enough is enough

Posted: August 16, 2014 10:04 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2014 10:04 p.m.

Katharina Lotze/The Signal

Athletes give their time, energy and passion to sports but after a while the cost is too much for some. It's at that point when they must decide between their athletic and non-athletic careers. But it seems that no matter what the decision, that love for the sport will be the...

It’s been said that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.

So by that logic, athletes who are passionate about their sport shouldn’t ever get sick of them. You hear about people who live, breathe and sleep sports.

But what about the ones that get fed up and quit?

Even for the most dedicated athletes, is there a breaking point where sports consume so much of someone’s life it becomes harmful?

There are athletes that say yes, but it’s not because they get sick of the sport. It’s usually the sacrifices that go along with competing, whether that means giving up leisure time, sleep or other pursuits in life.

Canyon High School senior Danny Lux has seen both sides of the issue — the benefits and the downfalls of all the hard work.

He played in Canyon’s football program for two years before it all became overwhelming. He quit the team and missed out on his junior year season.

“I understand with football that you have to put in work,” Lux said. “That’s the main thing. It’s just non-stop. Football is always going year-round. During the spring it’s workout, workout, workout. During the summer it’s workout, workout, workout.”

On top of that, Lux said he was falling behind in school and he felt like his entire life was being taken over by the sport.

But then the season started, the lights came on, and it was like torture for him to have to watch from the stands.

Lux began playing football his freshman year of high school, but it was only then that he made the discovery a lot of athletes do.

He couldn’t stand being away from the sport. He loved it, and he wanted back in.

Lux didn’t want his story to end there, and because of how much he loved to play, it didn’t.


Sometimes it isn’t about losing the desire to compete, it’s about adjusting priorities as time goes on.

In the instance of former Saugus High cross country/track and field runner Merissa Kado, she stepped away from the sport she’d dedicated seven years of her life to.

She forwent her senior track and field season at UCLA because she wanted to focus on her pursuit of graduate school for clinical psychology.

Kado had been competing at a high level for a long time. She ran for two of Saugus’ state championship cross country teams and she was running against elite Pac-12 athletes in college.

It wasn’t the seven-day-a-week workouts or the early mornings that bothered her. It was the constant pressure to perform that took a mental toll on her.

At a certain point, Kado realized she wasn’t enjoying it anymore. And that was a red flag.

“My love of this sport is kind of one reason I quit though,” Kado said. “I got to the point where I didn’t love running. I was going to practice and I just wanted to go home and crawl back into bed.”

Even with all the stress, Kado still took weeks to make the final decision to quit.

She went running on her own and made a pros vs. cons list.

But in the end, it was time to go after her non-athletic career.

“It came down to kind of mental well being,” Kado said.

To say she became burnt out on running would not be accurate. Kado still loves it, and she still runs with Saugus’ high school teams on her own time.

She doesn’t anticipate ever completely letting it go.

“My heart’s always going to be with running,” she said.


It all comes down to the simple question. How much is an athlete willing to give up for their sport, and for how long?

In today’s era of intensive, year-round training in sports, even at the high school level, it has become difficult to compete at a high level while maintaining social lives and good grades. That’s particularly true in sports like football, baseball and basketball, which all-but require year-round commitments.

“This is something I’ve thought a lot about. I’ve soul-searched on this,” said West Ranch High baseball head coach Casey Burrill. “Am I doing this too much? Am I pushing the kids too much?”

But then again, Burrill remembers that when he was growing up playing baseball, he couldn’t get enough of it.

The longtime coach admitted that during West Ranch’s offseason baseball programs, he sees kids take time off or sometimes opt against participating all together.

However, he said, “the ones who are really into it, that like it, that want more, they do get better.”


Danny Lux can vouch for that.

He returned to football after realizing the emotional pain of watching a season from the sidelines outweighed the physical pain that comes with football.

He’s competing for a starting job on Canyon’s offensive and defensive line this season as a senior.

More importantly, he couldn’t be happier to be back on the field.

If you love something that much, it doesn’t seem possible to get sick of it.


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