I Cried at Soccer Camp, What About You?

What is you passion? Mom signed me up for summer soccer camp and had to pick me up at noon on the first day because I wouldn’t stop crying. It is really no secret to any of my family or friends that I was never the “traditional guy.”  As a child, I was awkward, puny, and uncoordinated. When the kids in the neighborhood would play football or hockey, I stayed as far away as I could. I just never had a desire to participate in such things.

Heck, I remember when collecting baseball cars was a popular thing. Since all of the other boys had huge collections, I made it my mission to get an even bigger stash. Even though my parents knew I wasn’t into baseball, they obliged. My desire to fit in overshadowed my desire to be who I really was. I was more interested in theater or watching “I Love Lucy” then sweating outside in competitive sports. My passion was different that the other kids.However, knowing I was different kept me shackled to my fear of being found out. I wanted to hide my differences and blend into the crowd.

I kept up the charade by joining the local football team at a mind-blowing 70 pounds. Of course, this was the 90 pound team and I was the tiny kid in the back of the line when we ran laps. I cried a lot there too. My dad loved sports and so did my twin brother so joining the team gave me a sense that my family would be proud. Somehow, I managed to suffer through the sweat and tears and made it on the championship team. Of course, my parents paid for my membership so they had to include me. It was the fourth quarter with only a minute or two left and the game was tied. We were playing against the local team that had never been beaten. They were twice our size and practically pros for middle schoolers.

Coach Bob held a time out huddle and told us to grab any fumble that rolls out and win this game! And guess what happened? When the next play began, a fumble came out from their side and landed at my feet. I grabbed it. And since I didn’t really understand football and had not idea which way to go, I stood there midfield with the ball up in the air like the Statue of Liberty holding her torch. My fear of letting the team down paralyzed me in place. Thank God the referee stopped the game before I was pummeled. Anyways, we won the championship and I still have the jacket to prove it. That was my last day on any organized sports team.

Why am I telling you this? I want to convey the idea of accepting who you are. As I said, I was never a guy’s guy. I never liked sports, tools, or cars. My ex- wife was more into that stuff than I ever was. I used to believe that there was something wrong with me because I would rather attend a musical than a football game. There are hundreds of examples in my life and I am sure in yours as well that we compromised who we were to be accepted. I would join groups of people just to be a part of, even if there “thing” wasn’t mine. It makes me think of young kids who grow up in gang saturated areas. Many of them join and do things that do not line up with who they so they will be approved of. It was only until I came to a major crossroads in my life that I finally began to embrace who I was all along. I don’t have to shave my face in your mirror, only mine. If you want to be happy, look within and be who you are. Follow you passion, that thing that ignites a brush fire within.

I am reminded of the film Lethal Weapon 3. To summarize, Danny Glover’s character is a police detective who gets involved in a shootout with a local gang. He shoots and kills one of his son’s best friends. On the morning of the funeral, his son is shaving in the bathroom. He enters the room and while observing his technique offers some advice. He noticed that his son, Nick, is shaving with the grain. The advice is to reverse the razor and go against the grain to get a batter shave.  I watched this film when I was 12 years old and still remember how that message hit me. The deeper lesson was not to be a sheep and do what everyone else is doing. Go against the grain, and while you may stand alone, you will at least stand for something. Embrace the wonderful, amazing person that God created you to be.

Start right now. Look deep within and finds that “thing.” You know the thing I am talking about. That thing that you always had a passion for and dreamed of doing or being. That is the thing that was placed in you from the time of conception. Align yourself and begin following that path. Is it a career? A hobby? What is it?

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