I started dancing when I was just four years old. Back then, it was all about the glitz and glamour of performing. I wanted the shiny tap shoes and the poufy tutus, and I wanted to be in front of a crowd, with a big smile on my face, dancing choreography that I had spent weeks or months memorizing.

As I got older, though, the sport behind the performance started to kick in. Classes and rehearsals were more advanced and more grueling. I was often sore or paying careful attention to a certain area of my body that was at risk of injury.

By the time I got to high school, I felt completely overwhelmed. School work and extracurricular activities were hard to balance with the demanding schedule of dance classes. There were several times I even considered quitting dance. After finishing senior year at my studio, I was ready to hang up my pointe shoes and say goodbye to the wonderful but overwhelming world of dance.

Or so I thought.

I came to college and became caught up in the adjustment. Classes were stressful. I missed home a lot. I searched for ways to exercise and began attending group fitness classes at my school's gym, but I couldn't help feeling like something was missing.

Everything clicked back into place when I pulled out my old leotard and pink ballet tights and found a studio near me to take a class at. Even though the studio wasn't the one I had danced in for countless hours back home, I did feel at home next to that ballet barre. After just one class, I realized the safe space sports can create for athletes.

I've often thought about this topic since I started my column this summer, but it never felt like the right time to write about it. Recently, I spoke to some senior football players from Noblesville High School and Westfield High School, though, and I saw a similarity.

As I asked them about their experiences on a high school team and what their plans for the future were, many of them spoke of the role football had in their life.

"Football is such a big part of my life that I don't think it will ever not be a big part of my life," Grant Christie from Noblesville High School said.

Another Noblesville player said he wanted to one day become a coach and continue to "help others with the game of football."

Cam Nance from Westfield High School said that football helps discipline him in high school. In regards to the future, he said, "Football will continue to be a huge [part of] my life."

"If I have the opportunity to play in college, then I will take it and will work my hardest for it," said Michael Delaney of Westfield.

"Football will always be a part of me. I plan to play college ball, and I'm excited, but I also don't want to overlook the unbelievable experiences I'm having in high school. I'm glad I was able to learn important life lessons as a young man and can implement them into my life later down the road," said Griffin Lickfeldt of Westfield.

I believe that sports enter our lives for a reason. Sometimes, they get tough and they demand a lot of us, but it isn't easy to say goodbye to them. I have finally acknowledged the fact that dance is always going to be a part of my life, and it was exciting to hear that these players felt the same way about their sport.

Megan Rosta is a sophomore at Loyola University Chicago hoping to major in Creative Writing or Journalism. She is a resident of Fishers, Ind. and is an avid sports fan.