My father, growing up in a small village loved running through the meadows of Dologozhda, Macedonia playing soccer most of the day with the town’s people. Being an excellent player, he trained hard every day by grabbing a couple of soda cans as goals and a beat up ball his father gave him to kick around. At the age of seventeen my father was called up to play in the beautiful city of Struga. With a stunning blue river running down the center of town, kids running about playing street soccer, and stores and shops till the eye can see, this was his big shot.Order now
Starting the game for Struga Football Club my father with one wrong step ended up tearing his ACL right before half time. Not being able to follow his dreams the sport struck him with the fury and passion believing I could be even better than he was one day. October 24, 2013 6:53 am, it was the coldest, most important day of the year and I was ready for it. The Verizon jingle from my phone rang as I slowly reached over attempting to turn it off. My legs and shoulders still jittering sore from the mountain climbers and sprints, Coach Nash put the team through to prepare for that night.
Waking up to the poster of Lionel Messi, the greatest soccer player of all time is like my dose of caffeine of every morning. Wearing the number ten jersey outlined in yellow, dark blue and red uniform he waves both his hands in the air pointing out his index fingers showing to the crowd and world that he is number one. In the background, slightly glared, the ball is in the net and the keeper is down on the bright neon grass disappointed and beaten while the crowd of Camp Nou waves the flags and bright colors of the city of Barcelona.
His back facing away from his opponent’s goal and his head slightly tilted to the side gives a perfect image of the bliss, passion, and hard work in his smile. My first class that day was English with Mr. Bellini. All that ran through my head down was today’s county soccer finals as I sat in the back corner of the room not even attempting to write the in class essay he had given us. This game would decide if I was going to play soccer at the University of Delaware after high school. It was a scary thought being a senior and knowing that it’s your last year of being a teenager.
I remember Mr. Bellini telling us this is one of the most important years of life and after you graduate you’re on your own making decisions and starting and new chapter in your life. I don’t what my future looked like if today’s game didn’t end in my favor and that’s what kept my stomach filled with butterflies the rest of the day. Lunch came around and I sat with the team, grabbed my usual yogurt and banana before the game and listened to Pandora Radio. “How many goals you scoring today Samir? ” said my friend Justin. “A hat-trick! ” I laughed joking around. Let’s go boys, bus leaves in 15. ” said Coach Nash as he stepped around the corner. I finished my snack, quickly paced to my locker with butterflies still running through my stomach to grab my uniform and hopped on the bus. It was time and this was the moment that counted.
Coach came on, and everyone on the bus went mute, as he was ready give us the pre-game talk. The words he used were powerful enough to twirl around in my brain and mix with my thoughts to become a part of me. “And let me tell you it is important to have fun in life, of course. “But when you’re out there partying horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard, someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. ” “Just remember that. ” “But if you want to win there is absolutely no way around it, hard, hard work. ” “There is no success unless you do. ” “You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself and that goes for anything you’ll ever do in your life time. ”
“Pay no attention to others that say otherwise and say yes you can. ” “Whatever happens today, just remember playing these four years made you in into the wonderful young adults you are today. At times I wonder about the inspiration of these words. Why exactly he said this before a game? Being on team and working together to accomplish a goal is thrilling. Hard work, dedication and long practices have changed me into a more disciplined player and person. I learned that if I didn’t practice hard, I wouldn’t perform as well. The field of Mountain Lakes High School left me stunned. The fresh smell of cut grass perfectly trimmed to its contour and the feel just moist enough to glide the ball across field was astonishing.
The bright lights illuminated the field making the pitch flawless and the largest crowd I’ve seen all year had my heart racing. “I believe that we will win! ” shouted the fans of Mountain Lakes. I led the team to normal passing drills and stretches fifteen minutes before the game started. We all huddled in as Coach Nash called us over to give the starting lineup. The whistle blew for the start of the game and I can say I’ve never played a more beautiful game in my life. We passed the ball around splendidly leading 1-0 at half time. Second half began and still dominating Mountain Lakes we couldn’t score another goal.
Coach at that moment ran out of ideas when he saw that we started trailing 2-1 with ten minutes left because of counter attacks. Coach knew it was the end and no matter how hard we played, or how perfectly we setup plays Mountain Lakes beat us to it. That moment in a game when a team gains a sudden sense of urgency and confidence after a key moment happens in a match. Those moments don’t happen in every game, but when they do, they’re simply splendid. It’s that moment when a team either regains their complete confidence or begins passing the ball around the pitch like a proud peacock, standing tall.
Sometimes it happens after the team scores a goal. On the other hand, it sometimes happens when a team has just conceded a goal, and all of a sudden you’ll see the team combust into a frenetic fury with a renewed sense of effort and it can happen just like that. It’s one of the reasons I loved soccer and felt it was a part of me. It changed the way I viewed life and people by playing a team sport. There’s a reason it’s called “The Beautiful Game”. I made childhood friends, but I also made friendships that I know will last a lifetime.
Soccer has taught me about myself in the fact that I can push myself to accomplish things that I want to. It gave me an identity of a strong, active, athletic player. The sport made who I am today by working hard, having a good attitude, and respect towards others. The poster of Lionel Messi ran through my head as the game came to end. Good game, good game, good game”, I said to every player on the other team that passed me on by as my emotions ran down my face drenched in sweat. Feeling paralyzed that night as I went home, took a cold shower, and only to glare at the television screen for the rest of the night.
I threw myself onto my bed as a sunk into my comfort zone, and flipped the channel to Bei’n Sports to watch Football Club Barcelona play home at the Camp Nou. So many happy memories, emotions, and faulty decisions ran through the back my head as I scrolled through Twitter on my phone and only seeing all the tweets from tonight. The words spun in my head, mixing in my thoughts and I keep thinking to myself what does the future have in stock for me. I turned my head to the right only to see the poster of Lionel Messi smiling, and waving his fingers in the air with joy.
Looking even closer to notice the defenders on the background beaten only to feel my heart snap and look away. The disappointment echoed through my body as I tried to imagine the next year. I saw it as a hurricane flooding in on me eroding the happiness. I thought back to what coach told us before the game. Shooting on goal and making every single one is exhilarating. I get the feeling that I am an angel as I float up and down the soccer field without interruption. Soccer has given me a character and personality of my own and has influenced my views, values, and hopes.
The way I communicate, view people, work, etc. all came from my experience of playing soccer. The sport changed the way I performed by giving a hundred percent and striving for the best whether its studying for a test, or looking for a job. Becoming a player like Lionel or playing at the University of Delaware may not be my future, but it has given me the mindset and opportunity to triumph any goals I set. Gradually closing me eyes, I allowed my thoughts to enter my mind knowing that the sport I learned from will lead me to wonders.