The gas was off at my house for three weeks in June, but I hardly noticed. Why? Because I’ve been out watching just about every World Cup game I can get my eyes on.
I grew up playing soccer, starting at age 5 and on into NCAA Division III at my university. Soccer has a lot to do with how I live my life. I feel like I’ve learned all that I could from the game, and sometimes I forget those lessons, but when I watch a game or step onto the field, it all comes back. It’s life. A competitive soccer game has everything you can expect out of life: short-lived celebrations, pain, misery, comraderie, patience, pressure, loneliness, deceit, scandal, discouragement, achievement, failure, communication, and nonstop action. You have to work harder and smarter than your opponent, you have to believe in yourself, and you have to fight off making mistakes when you’re tired. You can catch a lucky break, and you’ll need it, but you have to be in the right place on the field at the right time for that to happen. If you don’t want the ball, you’ll never get it. Your preparation for the game is the most important part of it all. While there are two teams, it’s really a competition with yourself. Can you stay focused on your goal? Can you keep your teammates focused?
So here’s to soccer! Here’s to working your ass off to score a goal important to you in your life, here’s to coming up short and being honest with yourself for why you did. Here’s to failing again and again, here’s to emerging victorious and knowing it was worth it, and here’s to moving on to the next challenge while keeping the wolves at the door. Here’s to struggling to keep up, and here’s to being over prepared. Here’s to lessons learned from failure and success. Here’s to feeling like you’ve given everything you have, but finding a little more. Here’s to being exhausted but still finding the energy to smile.