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Amanda DaCosta Blog: Spontaneous Combustion

Amanda DaCosta
Amanda DaCosta

Amanda DaCosta dribbles against the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo Copyright: Meg Linehan)

“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.”
-Arnold H. Glasow

I think about this quote before every single game I play. It’s written on the tape around my wrist, and I read it in my journal (yes, I have a journal) the night before game days when I’m visualizing the match in my head. I’ve broken apart this quote so many times and have used it to fuel me. What fuels you?

“You must set yourself on fire.”

A fire needs fuel. Whether it is a thought, an experience, or a person who has impacted your life, everybody has something that they use to empower them in order to reach their goals. Many things can fuel a person. One of the biggest things for me personally, is passion; the passion I have for this game, and for every player who has played it before me. My love for soccer runs deep. It is more than just an activity for me, it is a way of life, and quite frankly it’s the only life I’ve ever really known since I was a little girl. The ball was always stuck to my foot (and it still is!). I would juggle up and down my hallway, trying to not let the ball hit the walls. I would dribble in circles around the island in our kitchen while my little dog chased me nipping at my ankles, and when my mom needed to make dinner I would go to the basement and volley the ball back and forth against the stairs.

You can’t tell someone what it is in this life that they are meant to be passionate about. But when you find it and that love is present, it is undeniable.

There was a time when I was in a bit of a rut as far as soccer is concerned. I think we all have these moments; not just in our sport, but in our life as well. It really is just like a rollercoaster. It’s what we do in these moments of doubt that determine what type of person we will end up being. You can be a fighter, or not; it’s your choice. I chose to fight, and to remember what it was that had fueled me to push for my dreams for all of these years. My career with soccer wasn’t a “result of spontaneous combustion.” I had set myself on fire and pushed myself through every day of training. This was what I needed to always remember if I ever doubted myself again.

A fire needs oxygen. Without oxygen, a fire will die out (Camping 101!). You cannot rely on fuel alone to keep a fire going, you need to have an extra component to keep it dancing. Inspiration. A reason to continue! What inspires you? A goal inspires me. But not just any goal: something that people might consider “a reach” or “unattainable.” If it was attained by somebody else, it can most certainly be attained by me!

This is my inspiration: something that will haunt me every single day if I don’t have it. Drawing from history, I think that all amazing things in this world have been created because of some form of inspiration. “A Starry Night” by Van Gogh, the “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Coliseum, Easter Island…beautiful sights that were created because somebody was inspired. Within these structures holds their initial source of inspiration that carries onto the next generation who views them. The same thing goes for sports. I am inspired by the stories of athletes who have overcome obstacles in order to reach their goals. The same athletes who pour themselves onto the field, and make soccer look like art. Being uninspired is a poor excuse to never get anything accomplished. The world is filled with beauty that has been created by someone else to reach a place in your soul that makes you want to take action. If you can’t find your own inspiration, draw it from someone else.

A fire needs a source of ignition. A spark! A starting point. Every success story had to start somewhere. Before a match or training session (if I’m being honest I usually think about this when I wake up in the morning), I find my spark. It isn’t a constant for me, and often changes depending on what is going on in my life, my mood or just what each moment holds. No one can tell you what your spark is! Everyone has something different that is unique to them.

I am happy to share my thought processes and the sort of things I think about before I train or play in games, but when it comes down to it, the only person who can control your actions and your happiness is you. However, I will tell you this: My spark always puts a smile on my face. And if you know me at all, you know that I smile a lot…

I will forever be the little girl dribbling around her kitchen like a lunatic, laughing because her mom can’t get around her to make dinner.

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