When you're no longer relevant as an athlete

By Drake Fages

When I was 6 years old I fell in love with baseball. I vividly remember why. 

Nearly every Saturday I would be playing “catch” (or chasing the ball around in the outfield after a terrible throw), and would notice both set of Grandparents walking down a grassy hill together from the parking lot. It seemed like my Grandparents would always walk in the same order, holding the same things; a chair, cooler and an umbrella. 

I wasn’t a normal 6 year old- I was a Fages boy, and baseball was a part of me. My dad was a baseball player and coach, my Papa Dick played professionally, my Grandpa Al was a retired Hall of Fame Coach in Riverside and Redlands, CA and all my older cousins and brother played baseball. 

I thought that as long as I played baseball people would still care for me. My love for the game was built on being relevant and belonging.

As I grew older, baseball began to take up more of my time. I went from just playing in the Little League season to year-round travel ball. My relationships and friends were all centered and built around baseball. Wiffle ball, pickle, stickball, hit-the-bat, and Homerun Derby consumed all my time outside of school. Baseball became the constant theme in my childhood. The more I played, the more relevant I felt. 

Following my Sophomore year in high school I moved to a school that was better in baseball. So as a new student my junior year I was known as “Drake on the baseball team”. When I received a scholarship to go to play in college I was known as “Drake the Baseball Player”. When I received All-American and Gold Glove honors I was known as “Drake the really good Baseball Player”. 

I took pride in all these titles because I was relevant. People were impressed by me. I had a name and I belonged to something. I chose and agreed that this was me. 


In my case, what happens when an injury puts you permanently on the sideline? What happens when people, coaches and scouts stop believing in your talents? 

In other words, what happens when you’re not longer relevant to the tribe you’ve grown up with? Where do you go when it seems you don’t belong to anything anymore? 

Athletes around the world struggle with the idea of not playing their sport anymore. But good news for us is that WE ARE ATHLETES. We find a way to figure it out. We wanted to make it easier for you so we have created The YouSchool Athletic Program. 

Sports will end. The story will change. But athletes don’t deserve to be caught off guard- they deserve better. Rather than the story ending, what if athletes could see a future that was compelling, just as compelling and exciting as the sport they pursued? What if they could harness the focus, the mindset, and the attitude that helped them be so successful, and redirect for a great story in the future? 

When we realize that if we just knew who we were outside of our sport while we played to make this transition easier. The more we understand ourselves, our belonging and relevance will remain within us. We will know and understand that no matter what stage or position in life we are in that it is only be adding to our individually unique stories.

We have a 1-1 and peer-based Group Program customized by athletes for athletes—a deep dive to help athletes realize who they truly are, find a life mission to organize their lives around, and see the way their current/former sport have prepared them for the future. Contact us today to learn how The YouSchool Athletic Program can be customized for your environment.

Contact us today to learn how The YouSchool Athletic Program can be customized for your environment.

Drake Fages is a bearded mystery. One moment he's laughing at his own jokes with a group of coaches, the next minute he's challenging a student to work harder. He is a carpenter-in-training, a lifelong Dodgers fan, and an aficionado of plaid. After a career detour selling medical devices, he has found his sweet spot working with student-athletes, coaches, and parents at the YouSchool. Connect with Drake on LinkedIn and Twitter.