I remember when I was little and having competitions with my brother on our backyard swing set to see who could jump the farthest. We’d get swinging as high as possible, then at the highest point we’d jump off as far away from the swing set as we could propel our little bodies, often tumbling forward once making contact with the ground. Finally, we’d come to a stop as dirt covered giggling kids, completely unaware and unconcerned with the possible danger of what we just did.
Sometimes I wish I could jump into situations like that still. Unafraid, unaware of danger, and only concerned with how far I can go and how much fun I can have. I realize I’m not exactly the most mature 27-year-old out there but I have matured a bit since my brother and my swing competitions (although, Austin, you better believe I will accept it if challenged again). I know now that it may not be the smartest idea to jump into something without looking at the landing space, making sure I’m ready, and generally using good judgement. But, there has to be a smart grey area between reckless abandonment and excessively conservative behavior.
Wondering where I’m going with this? How does this relate to soccer? I just completed the most wonderful four month off-season. For the first time in years, I spent time in America with my family, boyfriend, friends, made new friends, spent time at the beach, rested my body, and generally enjoyed myself! But, now I’m back at it. I arrived in Sweden two weeks ago and am back in the full swing of preseason with our first league match a mere two weeks away. Whether I am ready or not, time to jump right back into it.
Moving back across the ocean to a foreign country from my version of home is a big change. It’s an emotional change, I am back to missing the ones I love most. It is a physical change, instead of doing the workouts I enjoy most when I feel like doing them (always in warm weather) I am now on my team’s (cold) schedule. It is a mental change, instead of knowing where everything is located and knowing the language, I am now back to a town in which I have to use GPS to get around and I’m struggling with the language.
I appreciate the off-season for what it was. I appreciate the opportunity to be back in season and playing again. I appreciate the opportunity to learn how to be better at being comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. It’s similar to coming back from injury. I know my body needed a break and I had to be smart with the progression with which I took time off and worked my body back into playing shape. A lot of injuries are your body telling you that you need a break. Coming back is hard. You have to be smart. You have to listen to your body.
You have to be brave.
You have to stop being afraid of what could go wrong and focus on what could go right.
It takes time. The best things in life don’t happen over night — they are an accumulation of hard work, good decisions, overcoming fear, and a little bit of the same bravery it takes to jump off the swing.
Whether you are coming back from an off season or an injury– keep working, I’m cheering for you!
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale
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