Left at the Alter

1. Abandoned by the other party just before a marriage or merger.

Quitting, resigning, giving up – there are many different names for leaving something behind because it is easier in the long run. This inability to stick with an activity or person can take form in multiple ways: fear of failure, fear of not being enough or even fear of doing the same thing every day. These ideas show themselves in the choices that people make every day. Whether someone gives up baking because the first batch of cookies that they made were terrible or something as extreme as quitting on something they love; it all comes down to the decision to leave that activity behind.

For many people who have played sports but eventually stopped, quitting was just the better option. This could be giving up on a sport they loved or not playing a sport because they did not believe they could do it; either way, they left that sport behind. This decision often revolves around how much playing time that athlete is getting. For junior Max Barton, this was a decision he made for his junior year of basketball.

“I had very high hopes going into sophomore year,” Barton said. “But after realizing that my [playing] time was going to drop significantly, I realized that I didn’t even enjoy the sport as much as I used to.”

The amount of playing time that an athlete receives can often make or break his/her decision to keep playing. Oftentimes, when their amount of playing time is low, the athlete chooses to direct the time and effort that has to be put in to play their sport onto something else that is more beneficial to them. By not getting playing time, the athlete ultimately loses interest in the sport and moves on to something else.

For other people, quitting a sport seems like the only option when they do not have the same love for it as they did when they started. Athletes often play the same sport every week for years at a time, and all of this time spent playing this sport can lead to them not enjoying the sport like they did when they started.

“I quit travel softball because I didn’t want to play six days out of the week every week in the summer,” junior Deighton Butenschoen said. “I wanted to have a summer to myself for once and to hang out with my friends.”

Spending an excessive amount of time doing the same thing leaves the person doing the activity tired and bored. When so much time is dedicated to playing a sport, sometimes people can simply leave that sport behind.

Similar to the idea of quitting a sport, many people leave behind relationships because they are too scared to get attached to someone. The fear of not being good enough for a friend or significant other forces the person to steer clear of any relationship.

“The idea of not being good enough terrifies me,” Butenschoen said. “It holds me back from forming relationships, friendships, activities and sometimes causes me to avoid them.”

Recent studies by the Pew Research Center show that younger generations are “commitment-phobes,” especially compared to older generations like their parents and grandparents. With so many different avenues to help meet new people, a larger amount of dating options are made available. All of the different choices makes it much harder for someone to make up their mind and commit, leading the person to ultimately leave the relationship before it even begins.

The inability to commit to a person or activity can also stem for a bigger fear of failure. In an article for “World of Psychology,” hypnotherapist Tellman Knudson mentions that this fear of failure has been ingrained in every person since the day they were born and contributes to why people are scared to commit to certain things.

“Most school children learn early that if they fail they get a big, red F on their paper,” Knudson wrote in “Why We All Have Fear of Failure.” “This means that by the age of 18, you’ve been very effectively trained to fear failure.”

The fear of failure makes it hard to commit, especially when it is something new or foreign to the person. The fear of failure has been ingrained in students since they started elementary school; if you receive a bad grade, you will fail the class. This idea taught society to fear failure and ultimately avoid situations that they might fail in like relationships or playing sports.

Plenty of people quit on a daily basis. They quit jobs, sports, relationships and more, oftentimes because they are tired, scared or cannot commit to the person or activity. All of these things hold the person back and force them to drop whatever they can not commit to, causing them to “leave it at the altar.”