I Thought I Had the Perfect Life

College athletics is a crazy world. Diving into it as a freshman isn’t easy; at least for me it wasn’t. I came from a small high school (about 25 kids in my graduating class) located in a northern Maine town called Van Buren. I thought I had the perfect life. I excelled both in sports and in the classroom, I had great friends and am blessed with a wonderful family. I was brought up in the Catholic Church and had a solid spiritual life. By my senior year, I was ready to take on college by storm. I had accepted a full athletic basketball scholarship, and I couldn’t wait to play on the big stage of NCAA Division I basketball.

My freshman year of college, as a student-athlete, actually turned out to be a challenging experience. In high school, I was the star athlete who garnered a lot of accolades and attention. I was a success. Or was I? In high school, it was easy for me to think I was close to God because everything seemed to go my way. I would thank Him for my life and all of my success. I knew He loved me based on how awesome I thought my life was. But how easy is it to love God when everything is going your way? Would I still love Him when things didn’t go my way? What about when I encountered struggles? My first year of college was a very humbling experience, but also a blessing because it forced me to answer all these questions.

From the very beginning of my college career, I was very homesick and missed my family incredibly, especially my two year old baby sister. I had also just broken up with my long time high school boyfriend and was tremendously heartbroken. To top it off, I wasn’t the star anymore on my basketball team. I had to make a huge adjustment to the level of play I was facing at the Division I level. I wasn’t getting much playing time, and I was no longer in the spotlight. Everything I had in high school that I thought made me happy was gone, and I didn’t feel like I was in a very good place in my life. Everything that was happening forced me to answer a question I think we all need to ask ourselves: where does my value and identity come from? Did it come from basketball? Did it come from my grades, relationships, or popularity? Those things are what I had based my identity on. After asking myself those questions, I had an answer that has changed my life and has given me more peace than I’ve ever experienced before. I realized that my value and identity came only from Jesus Christ.

Throughout my freshman year, I became very involved with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) on my campus. I began meeting weekly with a wonderful missionary who I still meet with to this day. She helped me grow in my relationship with Christ and more fully understand my Catholic faith; because of this, I fell even more in love with the Catholic Church. In growing closer to God, I was also growing closer to my entire team. I began to pray for each of my teammates and coaches individually. I also learned how to offer up my workouts as a prayer and sacrifice. I began attending Eucharistic Adoration more often, which had a profound effect on me. On one specific occasion, I remember going to nighttime adoration after having a practice where I hadn’t played well at all. I was pretty discouraged, but sitting in the presence of Jesus Himself gave me a huge peace. I knew He didn’t care about how well I played in practice. My whole mindset and attitude changed. I was now playing for an audience of One. I became a harder worker and more determined because I was no longer working for man, but for God alone. (Galatians 1: 10) No matter how well I did or didn’t play, I wanted to pour my heart into my team and contribute any way I could. I was dedicated to trying to be the best possible teammate I could be.

I became a harder worker and more determined because I was no longer working for man, but for God alone.

My team had a very successful season and after the school year was over, we took a team trip to Italy. This trip was an incredible blessing. We played a few games against some Italian professional teams and were able to do a lot of sightseeing throughout the country. I visited many beautiful churches including the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, the Basilica of San Domenico in Siena, and St. Mark’s Basilica in the beautiful city of Venice. My campus priest was able to secure tickets for my coaches and teammates to attend the Papal Mass of the Feast of Pentecost with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. My dream had always been to visit Vatican City. I never would have imagined also being able to attend a Papal Mass there. This was the culmination of my first year of college athletics. Coming to learn my true identity and how to love my team all ended right where it began, with Jesus, this time with my teammates and coaches right there beside me. It was absolutely incredible, and I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to the year.

My life is a lot different now than it was just two short years ago. I am now a sophomore and in my second season of basketball. I’m a happier person now than I ever was when I had the world’s idea of success. Maybe I’ll be in the spotlight again one day, and maybe I won’t. All I do know is that I will always try to be the best I can be in every aspect of my life. No matter what happens, I know that I am good enough for Him, and that’s good enough for me.

The things of this world are temporary. Today’s “successes” can be gone tomorrow. It is eternal life with our Savior in Heaven that is forever! One of my favorite verses since I’ve been in college is “God works everything out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)”. Love Him with all your heart and live for Him and you will lead a beautiful life, no matter what comes your way.

– Parise, a current NCAA student-athlete

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There are 18 comments so far

  • Irma J Connor
    2 years ago · Reply

    Excellent article. Her wisdom is a reflection of her values.

    • Thomas Author
      2 years ago · Reply

      I agree. She is an impressive young lady!

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Larry Hallowell
    2 years ago · Reply

    You are an inspiration, Parise. Your dad (who I officiated for) should be very proud. I wish every young person could read your article

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thank you so much!

  • Scott Warren
    2 years ago · Reply

    Beautifully said Parise.

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thank you!

  • Sandra Pitre
    2 years ago · Reply

    Hi Parise, so proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished. You are a smart girl, very friendly,and kind.. your baby sister is so happy she has her big sister, coming home from college, you can see it on her face I see this at church. How happy your baby sister is to see you and vice-versa, God will bring you to it and through it. Good luck sweet girl. And may GOD BLESS YOU….

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thank you for your kind words! God bless you too!

  • Dianne
    2 years ago · Reply

    So refreshing to read! May God continue to be close to you, let His light shine.

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      I’m happy you enjoyed it, thank you so much!

  • Lorne
    2 years ago · Reply

    Parise, you are wise beyond your years. Your future is as bright as the brightest star in the sky. Your time on the court will soon come again young lady. The college coaches have not yet maximized your true potential. Patience and continued hard work will help get you there. Best of luck to you Parise. We are pulling for you. Best wishes. Lorne

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thanks Lorne, your support means a lot to me!

  • Diane Bolduc
    2 years ago · Reply

    This is completely precious! ❤️

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Manchester wheeler
    2 years ago · Reply

    Areal credit to the State of Maine. Must have great parents

    • Parise Rossignol
      2 years ago · Reply

      Thank you 🙂

  • Jodi
    2 years ago · Reply

    Parise, This is such an inspiring message that all should read. It brought me to tears for your wisdom is beyond your years. I remember so well when your dad came to work at our school, and we taught across the hall from each other. I thought he was the most impressive young man I had ever met, his values, his morals, his work ethic, his love of family. God bless you as you continue to live your life for Christ. Prov. 3:5&6
    P.S. You have touched many lives already by your story! Good News travels fast!

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