Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts on Tenacity

Whether it's the perverbial bicycle kick that keeps the other team from scoring, or the rebound run that gives you the chance to shake the twine at the other end of the field... never give up.

I've played a lot of soccer in my life.  In highschool I was a defender who sometimes adventured as a left wing.  Beyond I played in the crazy world of indoor soccer in which the roles of defender/midfielder/offender are blurred beyond all belief.  I know that pit-in-the-stomach feeling when you get beat on a run by a striker, or when you see your goalie having a rough moment.  And in a split second, you have a decision.  Let it go and concede, or run. 

It's a moment in the "Write the Future" commercial, but I've also seen it happen in the 2010 tournament.  A player zoned in on the goal and a goalie who's out of the picture for one reason or another.  The striker takes the shot.  And... a moment from his worst nightmares.  His shot is blocked by an amazing bicycle kick thrown by a relentless defender.  It's the kind of moment that's made for TV.  But it only happens because there's just that one guy who refuses to give up.

At the other end of the field, I know the feeling of tentative hope.  You know the star player has things in hand as he rushes to the goal.  But as a supporting wing you just keep running at that back post, because you never know.  At the last moment, there could be a defender in the way, or a shot that goes off the crossbar or off another player. If you're there, you can make a magical moment happen.  As my high school coach used to say, it's the stuff dreams are made of.  But you'd never have the chance if you hadn't run the whole time. 


Note to self:  I know sometimes you feel like that last defender...the tiny little hope that's staring down the eye of the tiger in the things coming at you full blast.  Don't be afraid.  Don't be discouraged.  Don't even worry about the pressure.  Just stay with it.  Don't give in.  Don't give up. 

And I know sometimes you feel like you've made that supporting run a thousand times only to celebrate with the other guy.  But run.  Keep your eye open for those opportunities.  You want to be there when the ball comes your way.  When it does, don't hesitate!  Take the shot!  It will be a moment a long time coming.  Until it does.  Keep making that run.  (And remember to celebrate no matter who took that last shot.)

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