Facing Rejection

Article by Woosuk Kim

While the newly selected batch of second season IASAS athletes begin their final preparations for the tournaments at the beginning of February, there are those who may have missed out on such opportunities, or have previously experienced the feeling of rejection from certain sporting positions. Bamboo Telegraph interviewed certain athletes about what advice they could give to those struggling with this common occurrence.

Sophomore varsity basketball player Margaret N. shared her experience with facing rejection—not making IASAS during her freshman year on the varsity squad. “Although I wish I could’ve made IASAS, I wasn’t really that affected as being a freshman on a team full of seniors, I definitely thought it would be better for the team. I’ve accepted and believed that the coaches decisions were beneficial for the team. Also, I believe that I was not ready to face the pressure of IASAS.” Margaret believes that even though her case of rejection is bearable compared to those of other athletes, rejection as a whole is vital in the development of an athlete’s character. “Rejection serves as fuel to your drive. It motivates you to do better and grow as a player. With rejection, conversations about improvement and how to develop personal skills and goals are more openly discussed. It shapes your character, allowing you to be stronger, more diligent and motivated not only in your sport but in life.”

When asked about any advice she had for dealing with rejection, she simply said, “The past is in the past. If you got rejected today, put it behind you, because if you let it bother you, you will only go backwards. Rather, approach the rejection as an opportunity to come back stronger than ever. Also, don’t be shy to talk to your coaches, because they make the cuts and if there is anything you can do to make it next year, they will definitely have the answer. As Michael Jordan said, ‘I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.’”

Unlike Margaret, an athlete who has yet to experience rejection over a sport is sophomore varsity swimmer Mirza S. However, from his experiences of helping his teammates overcome rejection, he believes that “at first it can seem like the end of the world as you feel you aren’t good at that sport, but eventually you get over it and see there is more to it.” He later added that the best piece of advice he can give to other athletes when struggling with rejection is to “never give up and all the small things you do at practise add up at the end to develop you as an athlete and improve your skills. Also, be patient as if you really want something, it won’t happen very quickly and needs to be earned.”

However similarly to Margaret, Mirza believes that rejection is key in an athlete’s progress. “It is important for some people to face rejection—especially the ones who aren’t motivated and very confident. Rejection can spark motivation and bring them back to reality to show that hard work beats talent,” he said. With useful guidance from experienced athletes such as Margaret and Mirza, anybody faced with rejection can overcome and learn from it.