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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Build It Up (build me up)

I might be biased but few things are as rewarding as scoring a goal (well there are many things in life much more rewarding then that... but as far as soccer goes, scoring is pretty key). So much work put into a small ball hitting a large net. When you think of the logistics of it outside the realm of the game, it seems so simple. The ball really is small compared to how large the goal is...but when put into context, it is a massive task. 

Every little piece of the build up is important, and not one piece more then the next or the one before. The sum of all the touches, passes, tackles, saves, and unselfish runs to create space allows one person to do the honors of allowing the ball and net to create one of the sweetest sounds you can hear.  

The build up to a goal is much like the work you put in to get a chance to experience that moment on the field. It isn't always perfect or go exactly like you would have imagined it to go...in fact, a lot of the time you aren't in control of what is going to happen. Someone else has the ball and they are in charge for a brief moment until they pass the reigns on to someone else. All you can do as your teammates touch the ball is support them the best you know how and believe in their ability to do great things. These little puzzle pieces fit together perfectly, just how they are suppose to. Everything happening for a reason. 

To get back on the field after a big injury you are creating your build up. Every little thing counts. The rest days. The work days. What you eat. How much you sleep. What you think and how you talk to yourself. And just like on the field, you rely on so many things not in your control to help you along the way. Doctors, physical therapists, friends, fellow members of "the ACL club", and of course family to help support you in both the highs and lows of the process. 

Build up's are a thing of beauty...I believe our journey back to the field is just that...     
beautiful

The scene unfolds: 

Surgery (......pass)
Bending your knee past 100 degrees (.......pass)
Stepping down onto your leg with full weight  (.......pass)
Getting told you get to jog again for the first time (.......dribble)
jumping up perfectly onto a box that you think is just a little out of reach (.......pass)
juggling a ball and feeling it as it pops off your foot just right (.......dribble)
Wearing a yellow "non-contact" penny in your 1st training with a new ACL (.......pass)
Running on the field, number on back of your game jersey (.......cross)
Finishing a great build up with a simple inside the foot near post tuck away (.......goal)


Yes, it is just one small part of my build up...but in our first game of the 2015 season, in a new kit on a field I didn't get to play on last year, when I looked up and saw the ball in the back of the net, it felt like a weight fell off my shoulders. I have always believed in my ability to score, even when I wasn't playing I would imagine myself scoring goals (yes goals, not one but many in all different scenarios). But after 4 years of not seeing that happen, doubt starts to creep in. Even if only for a second/minute, it's presence is felt and requires that much more energy to reassure yourself you can do it. 

In those moments of doubt you recall what it feels like to get lost in a game. To not remember how a play progressed or how you made that final minute full field sprint. To be "in the zone." It is a feeling that athletes relish and hold onto because it means you are playing with a freedom and focus that is beyond anything you can explain. These feelings are what keep you pushing to get back on the field. They make you spend the energy remembering and re-convincing yourself that you still have it in you to do everything and more then you did before. They keep your mind focused on what step is next in your beautiful build up. 

My build up was long but relentless, four years in the making. Purposeful, building strength within me that I would never change for anything. The buildup in our game was short, precise and accurate. I was just one piece of the puzzle that allowed our team to score our first goal of the 2015 season. I won't ever forget that moment. Both build ups I will cherish it forever.