Taking the Next Step

This is my first post since joining the Portland Thorns of the NWSL. If you weren't aware that I changed teams, now you know. I made the daring move from my "comfortable" life overseas back to the country I was born in. I imagine people have been dying for a post about the Thorns. I feel like they want to read about how Christine Sinclair never misses a shot in training or how Alex Morgan has a professional hairstylist straighten her pony tail every day for training.  Or maybe how Rachel Buehler randomly tackles complete strangers while walking down the street. Haha - what? None of those things are true.

I've been here for a little less than three weeks so far. As one can imagine, it's not an easy process to come into a team midseason, especially when you wear a headband. Everyone has established their place within the team, friendships have been made and well the new "kid" is almost 30 years old, and doesn't like to dance.

So here's the thing. I've had the opportunity to sit down and talk with almost everyone on the team. I've had the chance to get to know more about them than just what foot they'd like to receive the ball on. And my findings have been so impressive that I've felt compelled to write about them.

The thing people tend to forget about professional athletes is that they're a special breed. And I definitely don't mean that in the sense that they were born with special talents or physical attributes. They're special because the road to get to this point is difficult. Many of them have been through some shit... family stuff, injuries, living in different countries  - the road isn't easy. It's sometimes lonely. It's full of emotions we probably didn't even know existed. But it molds us into this passionate, competitive, detail-orientated monster that never takes the world as it is, demanding more not only from ourselves, but from everyone in our lives.

This puts us in a pretty incredible position. When we're at training we know we're among some of the most talented, hardworking soccer players in the world.  The fun part is that when we're not on the field, it's most of the same.  We inspire each other,and likely without ever knowing it, push one another to be more than we would have if we were doing this alone.

This has done so much for me in the short time I've been here.

And here's where shit gets real.

The feeling of inadequacy is natural in people. There's always more we can be doing and everyone knows it about themselves. I think there's a dangerous level of this where people never think they're good enough, but also a healthy level where we continue to push ourselves to see where we can go.

In my adjustment period, I've not only wanted to adapt to a new style of play, formation, coaches and environment on the field, but also the environment off the field. My teammates have inspired me to become more. I think that means they're special people.

We all place limits on ourselves. I had kind of capped my capabilities as a thinker. As a creator. As a writer. Not on purpose though. It just gradually happened. But sometimes all it takes is a conversation with someone new... hearing a different way of thinking, for us to reevaluate where we are and take the next step.

Because let's face it ... we're all just a little inspiration, probably just one conversation actually, away from that next step in our lives. We just have to make sure we don't miss it when it's there.