After the Play Ends: Andi Shae Napier


Photo Creds: Steve Napier

Anya Olson, Staff Writer

Some athletes may feel pressure from their families to play in college when they may not want to. Andi Shae Napier, who grew up in an athletic family, felt lucky not to be pressured into college athletics after realizing collegiate sports weren’t for her. 

“I feel extremely lucky to have grown up in an active environment where sports were a big deal,” said Napier. “But, after touring a few schools, I knew I wanted a different college experience.” 

Napier grew up as a swimmer in Bakersfield, California. Her father and uncle competed in college baseball, so she grew up in a very athletic environment. 

“I was always doing something outside, whether it was swimming, playing volleyball, running around with my dogs,” said Napier. “My parents probably thought I would be a college athlete.” 

For some, growing up in an athletic family can cause pressure when the athlete begins deciding where they want to go to college. It’s always helpful to listen to one’s family, but most importantly, to oneself. Napier recalls feeling lucky that she was not pressured into competing collegiately.  

“Honestly, I was a little disappointed just because I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Napier. “But there was never any negative feedback from my family when I decided not to swim in college, which I’m grateful for.” 

Deciding where to go to college is a huge decision for individuals. No one should make those decisions but the athlete themselves. Napier offers advice to athletes deciding that college sports aren’t the right fit. 

“Understanding what you want is a big factor,” said Napier. “I knew I wanted to be in a bigger city because of my major, so that impacted my decision a lot.” 

Napier recalls going on several collegiate visits for the swim team. Although she had successful trips, she already had an idea of what she wanted her college experience to be. 

“You already have a vision of where you see yourself in college,” said Napier. “And if that vision changes, you can always transfer to find what’s best for you.” 

Napier began her college career at Arizona State University before returning home to a local community college. After taking a few months to determine her goals and aspirations, she eventually found her way to Liberty University. 

“Just remember never to feel trapped, because there are always other options,” said Napier. “There’s always something out there that could be a better fit for you.” 

Napier’s final advice to any student-athletes struggling with pressure from their parents or finding a college that fits them is to seek out what is best for them. It’s important to remember that the only person who truly knows what’s best for you is you. 

No matter the circumstance, always trust and listen to yourself to find what works for you. 

To learn more about Andi Napier’s journey, click the link to her YouTube Zoom series episode.


 About the author

Anya Olson is a senior mass communications student in her final semester. For her capstone she has created a Zoom series titled “After the Play Ends: Hanging the Cleats up”. Every week Anya interviews retired athletes and discusses the struggles they’ve faced after their sport ends. “After the Play Ends” is intended to be used as a resource for current athletes who may be struggling with similar topics. For full Zoom series episodes visit this link. For more information on Anya’s capstone check out her capstone Instagram @anyamariemedia