Fern Creek Tiger Times

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Fern Creek Tiger Times

Fern Creek Tiger Times

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“NARP” is defined by Urban Dictionary as “Acronym for Non-Athletic Regular Person. Your school’s lacrosse team probably shouts it at you while you walk by.” If someone were to ask sophomore year Mackenzie what her worst fear was, they’d probably hear her say “ending up a NARP.”

Throughout my adolescence, I rarely had a chance to stand still. From fourth grade to eighth grade, I was a gymnast. Once I entered high school, I joined the cheer team. The next year, I decided to follow in my big sister’s footsteps and play soccer. Months after that, I also joined track. Either due to having an athletic family, undiagnosed ADHD, or both, I was always drawn to sports. For eight consecutive years, my schedule was dominated with practices, games, and meets. I let this label define who I was, which, later I’d come to realize, was my number one mistake.

Mackenzie Chea

No, I did not suffer a career-ending injury. No, I did not contract some life-altering health complication. My athleticism wasn’t robbed from me. In fact, the decision to terminate my athletic career was one hundred percent my choosing.

Mackenzie Chea

I always prided myself on these involvements. Every night as I rest my head on my pillow and shut my eyes, my aspirations of being in the Olympics and World Cup illuminated onto the back of my eyelids. Big aspirations were nothing out of the ordinary for me, until I realized I may be too ordinary for those aspirations. My biggest red flag was that if I couldn’t be the best, I would’ve rather not attempt. This was a key contributor towards my lack of commitment. I fell out of love with a new sport just as quickly as I fell in love, making me ponder how different my life would’ve been if I could love one thing unconditionally. Unbeknownst to me, my drive to be an athlete would slowly diminish as I continued to reassure myself that these thoughts were just a phase, although these doubts never seemed to fade. For me personally, the feeling of sticking a new skill and scoring my first goal wasn’t enough to outweigh the dread of a vigorous practice and a mundane social life. So I quit. Then I found something new, and I quit again. I dreaded what I did, yet I pushed to keep the title of being an athlete over my head. However, this isn’t an essay about who I was. This

Mackenzie Chea

 is an essay about who I am.

Junior year, I was part of the yearbook club. After my soccer season concluded, I decided to pick up a camera and bring it to one of the boy’s games later that week. My passion for sports photography quickly ignited. The following week, I photographed another game. Shortly after that, Kenzie’s Digital Camera was born, and the rest was history.

KDC quickly became a household name within my school’s community. Every week had the same routine. Rather than enduring long practices and even longer games, I spent my free time editing, promoting, and creating. The majority of my adolescence physically drained my body, but this newfound love allowed me to relax as I expressed a creative side that was once hindered due to my past routines.

My name is Mackenzie, and I am a NARP. Becoming a “regular person” originally was not in the cards for me. But from NARP to nirvana, I found peace in detaching myself from labels, not allowing them to dictate how I live my life. The shift from athlete to ex-athlete was the beginning of me finding myself, which I hope to continue doing in college. I am anything but regular; I am extraordinary. 

Mackenzie Chea
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