I wanted to relay a story to you about my son who has a wild desire to be a professional soccer player. Jakie is 16 and a little while ago he undertook a course which has inspired him to go for his dream with all of his might to see if he can do it. The course he did helped him understand that we all have it in us to achieve great things, and a lot of the time the only difference between the absolute champions and the 'good one' is how hard they train, how hard they practice, and how hard they try. He also understands that even with all of the training and effort, sometimes people don't make their dreams. A lot of the time, this stops people even trying.
It has been truly inspirational to watch him through the summer. I have seen him in the past get inspired and do a bit of extra training here and there, but not a consistent and sustained effort that he has shown over the past 6 weeks or so. He goes out and kicks the ball every afternoon for a couple of hours at a time. He goes on 10km training runs by himself. He does extra fitness and ball work. This is on top of his normal training.
We've had discussions before about what makes the difference between a good player and a great player, and how putting in the extra yards can make an average player into a very good player. There are a number of examples of great sports people out there who prove the differences are in a lot of cases through sheer determination, effort, and mental fortitude.
A perfect example is the great Don Bradman. For the very few of you who are not aware of who he is, Don was the greatest cricket batsmen to have ever lived. His career average of 99.94 (the amount of runs every time he went out to bat) is widely acknowledged to be statistically the greatest achievement by any sportsman ever. If he had scored just 4 more runs in his last innings, he would have had a perfect average of 100.
Don Bradman, whilst a gifted athlete did not get where he did on pure natural ability alone. As a child and through to his teenage years, he invented a game that he practised for hours on end. He used to hit a golf ball using a cricket stump up against a corrugated iron water tank. He used this game to hone his technique, to increase his reflexes and sharpen his eye. As history tells us, all of this practice paid off handsomely and he ended up being the greatest batsman of all time.
Another example of someone who made it through to the top due to his amazing work ethic and determination was Michael Jordan. Although a very good basketball player, he was initially left out of the college team on the premise of being too short. He couldn't believe that he was left out. He was offered a place on the junior team and he took it with a resolution to do whatever it took to get himself in that team. His coach recalls that he used to arrive at the gym to find Michael standing outside bouncing a ball before 7.00am, every day summer, autumn, winter and spring. He was the first in and the last out at every practice and quite often he had to be kicked out. The dedication he showed got him to the position of the most amazing basketballer to have ever played the game, a true legend.
Jakie has only been playing soccer for 3 years. He isn't a stand-out talent like some of the kids out there. But, he is doing everything he can to realise his dream. He believes it is possible and that keeps him going. He is also smart enough to know that only a few kids ever get to realise their dreams of playing professional football, so he has stepped up his efforts in his school work as well. It's awesome to watch him try so hard. I truly believe that if he keeps going the way he has been going, he will be one of the few who do get to realise their dream. I couldn't be prouder of him.
Have you given up on your dream because you don't think its possible? Is that really the case... is it really not possible? Is there a way around your challenges?
Have a great weekend guys!