Giving Me Something I Can Feel

Yesterday I watched the German Cup Final with Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund. In the dying seconds of the game I watched like a little kid in front of cartoons as Bayern forward Thomas Müller received a through ball, dribbled on the diagonal across a defender, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home the goal that would put the game away.

His reaction following was that of a school boy’s. Which is the same as that of a passionate footballer.

Which is the same as passionate coaches and fans. As you can see in this video *skip to 7:15.

It gave me the reminder I needed that although soccer is the reason that I’m injured right now, soccer is also the reason that I have felt. Like really felt things. Pure joy. Disappointment. Frustration. Determination. Fear. Swagger. Nerves and anxiety. Growth and progress. It’s the teacher we never wanted. The tests before the studying. A lot of times you have to just figure things out on your own. What makes you calm before games? How do you get your confidence back? How do you handle personal and team frustration?

You get to work through stuff all the time. Sometimes you get to experience that pure joy. That feeling that brings you to the brink of “it can’t get better than this”. And sometimes you don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning.

All those emotions come and go. Lately I’ve been on the scared and frustrated side. I should start walking soon. I am two weeks out from my meniscus surgery. I should be able to leave my crutches, but I’m really quite scared. I’m frustrated I’m having a mental block. I’m not used to it. Usually I can just get up and practice until I get it right. This is a little different. It takes more than repetition. It takes a complete mental makeover that needs to happen as I’m going  through this. It also takes courage.

Courage is something I don’t think about often, because anytime I do something in soccer I just think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Taking risks is part of the game. When I don’t do it, I’m not playing well. When I do, I’m just doing what I do.

Courage now is something I can’t really locate in my tool box. I’m looking for it. Like a blind man needing that last IKEA piece. But I’m not going to give up (self talk). Because I do have other tools to get me there. Like determination. And yes I do have some swagger left.

I’m relying on those things to help me get past this minor setback in my life. I need to use the goods I have to find my courage. I can do it. And I will. (more self talk)

These little situations will continue to arise as I go through the rest of PT for my meniscus and then again with my ACL surgery. Figuring out what you’re capable of is scary, because it means doing things you’ve never done before. That means finding ways to compensate for what you might be lacking as a person. Which is also difficult to admit.

My PT guy, Chuck, said something enlightening the other day, “people come into this, some determined and some not, but everyone gets through it.” That gave me some confidence to keep going of course, but it also gave me a little motivation that I don’t want to be someone who’s not determined. That’s not the #ACLegacy I want to leave behind.

Regardless of the process, and all the feelings that come with it, I will always come back to the beautiful game. Right now, I can’t physically go out and do all the things that usually bring those positives out of me. The joy, the swagger, the pride in what I do… but I can watch on as others do it. And what I’m realizing, it isn’t too far off from what I feel when I’m playing myself.

When Müller rounded that keeper, I knew exactly what was going to happen next. I knew he would slot it with his left foot. I knew it was going in. It felt like I was experiencing the whole thing with him. The non-existent thought process. The rush of being in the 18-yard box. The final touches. And then, the big celebration after. It was a rush for me. And as long as watching the game brings those kinds of emotions out of me, I know I’ll be able to keep all these feelings for as long as I live.

If we are able to feel something once, we can usually find it again. It’s not always the conventional ways that work. Sometimes you have to dig in your tool box and hammer a nail with the back end of the screw driver. You know the end result. The nail goes in, a little crooked, but it’s in and it works. And then two hours later, the hammer turns up under your sink, next to the screws, right where you left it.

5 thoughts on “Giving Me Something I Can Feel

  1. It seems to me that one of the great tragedies of the human condition is the “gift” of consciousness that allows us to have dreams and passions, that for most of us are never realized. We live lives of “quiet desperation” (Thoreau). One of the great wonders of the human condition is the gift of consciousness that gives us the tools to realize our dreams. We must learn to live in gratitude, in the present moment, fully experiencing and appreciating life’s vicissitudes. Research has shown that the part of the brain that experiences and processes the music that our ears deliver to it, functions exactly the same way when we are “hearing” that music in our heads. The moments of dream fulfillment are never lost, even if they never recur. “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk the green Earth in peace, dwelling deeply in the present moment.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

  2. I appreciate that you’re sharing your journey and that you’re real, Tiffany. I came across this quote a few weeks ago and it spoke to me in the midst of my own struggles. Hope it encourages you, too: “No one has it all figured out and No one ever will. We just gotta show up for our dreams and each other before we’re ready. We can be scared and still show up. We can be completely UNHEALED and still show up. We must just show up in all our beautiful, messy glory. Because all the good and all the beautiful in the world is created by people who show up before they’re ready.”-Glennon Melton Keep showing up!

  3. This is the passion and the pain–and you put it so well. It’s true feeling, and words are as much a gift as the game–or, at least you have them to work with, just like the other tools in your kit. They’re there when you need them.

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