It is almost the new year and time to do an assessment of changes we would like to make and to establish goals to strive for. Many of us have put our dreams on the shelf for a variety of reasons, but why do we do that? If we physically and mentally have the ability to chase our dream, then we should continue to chase it!!
As I have mentioned in many of my posts, I strive to practice what I preach and push myself to do the things that I challenge others to do. I too have had a lifelong dream of becoming a professional athlete -- to get paid to do what I love to do. For much of my life, it was to become a professional football player, but life happened and that particular desire was diminished. However, in 2007 I found the wonderful game of soccer -- I was 47 years old at the time.
I have been hooked on soccer since the first time I stepped onto the soccer field and my dream was rekindled -- I saw an opportunity to seek out being a professional athlete through soccer. For many of my 15 years of playing the game now, I did not have any formal training until I joined a University Soccer club. I switched schools on my path to achieving a degree, and still practice with and play on a university club team, even at the age of 62. I did have the opportunity in the fall season of 2019 to earn the starting goalkeeper spot for over half the games and did pretty well.
I decided at the age of 50 to begin trying out for our semi-professional soccer team in town. I have returned 6 times to the tryouts but have yet to achieve the dream of playing on a pro team. I get it -- I am way beyond the age that most teams would even consider signing me -- but why would that stop me? I realized the likelihood of making the team is about 0%, but I feel like a dream is more than just a destination, it is all about the journey.
The last time I tried out for our local team was for the 2020 season. I primarily play as a goalkeeper and at these tryouts, I came out and took a really big shot, and had to leave the tryouts because I completely ruptured the PCL (major ligament) in my left knee. I was, however, back on the college soccer field in a few weeks and finished up the season. Then COVID happened, and I was deployed for this emergency for almost 2 years, so no soccer was happening throughout that timeframe. However, I signed up to start working on my master’s degree and of course, I started back with my university team. That little voice inside of me started chattering about training for and returning to the upcoming open tryouts again, and so here I am signed up to try out again in January.
Am I at the level I need to be to compete and play in a league like this? I don’t know, but I am going to train and push myself to be the best goalkeeper that I can be for these tryouts. Am I too old to even bother with these tryouts? Maybe I am too old, but why would that stop me from stepping onto the tryout fields and giving the coaches a show? Am I wasting my time with this crazy dream? I feel like I would be considered crazy if I have the ability to chase a dream and did not! You have probably heard many times that age is just a number, and I am not repeating that just because I am older. Our bodies will adjust to what we condition it to become as long as we stay consistent. Am I a bit slower than I used to be? Of course, but compared to doing nothing about my dream, I am very far advanced!
I did not create this story to boast or brag about myself – I am primarily writing about this journey and this dream because I want to demonstrate that chasing a dream should be a lifetime journey. I know that I will not match up with much of the talent that shows up for the tryouts, but who am I really competing against? I am only competing with myself and trying to create a better version of myself on the soccer field. When we push our bodies and learn to master them, then we can learn to master just about anything in life. I realize that not every dream and goal will manifest, but the struggle along the way is a priceless learning venture into who we are. I know that I have come a long way from when I first started playing soccer and I am extremely happy with my progress; when I started, I never really imagined the mastery that I would accomplish by simply sticking with the training and playing of this game of soccer.
I challenge everyone out there to dust off those dreams and find their way back to that journey, after all, if we don’t do something with our dreams, then they will go with us when we leave this life. You had a dream because it was meant for you to chase, and no one can do it better than you!!
Stay strong and live your life!!!