by Catherine Kinney, Guest Writer
NARP is the acronym that stands for Non-Athletic Regular Person. Athletes may find themselves calling their non-athlete friends NARPs. In a way, athletes form a type of cult that all NARPs are not privy to. What happens when the athlete becomes the NARP?
Katie Lang, an ex-volleyball player at Manhattan College, has gone through the transition of athlete to NARP. She discovered her love for volleyball in the third grade. She was a setter and had a lot of success in high school.
“I played in college because I genuinely love playing,” she said, “and I knew I would regret not trying to participate in college.”
Lang led her high school team, Fontbonne Hall Academy, to back-to-back Brooklyn Diocesan Championships and was named All-City by both the New York Daily News and New York Post three times each. She also earned three straight First Team All-Brooklyn selections.
Although she had success in high school, she decided to move on from volleyball after a year of playing at Manhattan.
“It just was not for me anymore,” she said. “It was not one of my priorities anymore. I am an engineering major so I found it hard to balance both. Some people definitely can, I was just getting too stressed.”
In order to be an athlete, one has to invest a lot of time into the sport. Once Lang became a NARP, she was able to devote her time to an array of activities.
“I have so much more time to get involved in other activities,” she said. “Being an athlete is extremely time consuming and even exhausting sometimes.”
Deciding to leave the team was hard for Lang, but her biggest challenge was walking away from the camaraderie.
“I stayed in contact with my best friends on the team of course,” she said. “Some of them I even consider sisters. I have lived with volleyball girls all four years but spend a lot of time with my engineering friends too.”
Sarah Haselhorst, a graduate and former Manhattan volleyball player, knew that their friendship didn’t have to end after Lang left.
“We will always be friends,” Haselhorst said. “She is one of the most special and unique people I have ever met. Seriously, you will never meet another Katie Lang.”
Although some athletes held a negative stigma towards NARPs, Lang was able to transition easily.
“NARP life is fantastic,” she said. “I never had regrets leaving the team, so for me it was an easy transition. There is also the bonus of making new friends that I would not have made if I never left the team.”
Even after Lang’s volleyball teammates graduated, she still manages to keep in touch while making new friends as well.
“It’s been hard living so far away from her,” Malia McGuinness, another former Manhattan volleyball player, said, “but it just makes the next time we see each other that much sweeter.”
Today, Lang still participates in beach volleyball for fun. Although leaving a team one loves can be bitter, she found that being a NARP could also be pretty sweet.
“I am so happy that I started out playing,” she said, “because I made so many great friends and I am so happy I am able to be a NARP too. I feel connected to both worlds.”