Friday, March 1, 2013

On Getting Back Up

When I first moved to Kuwait, 6 years ago, I started coaching soccer. In one season, I coached two different teams. Both of those teams went on to the finals. Both lost, but just barely. In one year, I'd established a reputation.

Not only with the other coaches, but with myself. After that first season, I expected to always be successful.

And then year two came around. I went to my first game of the season for my U-14 team. We were playing a weaker team, one we'd easily beaten the year before. I even sat some of my stronger players because I thought it wouldn't be a problem.

It was a problem. We got our butts kicked. Badly.

In that moment after the game, I looked at my team and thought, 'I wonder if there's a way out of coaching this.' I've never actually told anyone that I had that thought. But I did. Before I shook it off and remembered I had made a commitment.

So I had one other choice. Roll my sleeves up, make the team work harder, teach them more, and turn them into soccer players.

It was hard. Sometimes, it seemed impossible as we lost game after game. But then things started to change. My girls showed the stuff we worked on. They passed. They got aggressive. They learned to play soccer.

We finished that season in 3rd place. Other coaches came up to me and told me about how they couldn't believe it was the same team.

Now that I think back on it, I realize that it was my second year that really defined who I was as a coach. It was the year that really built up my reputation. It's easy to walk out on a field with a team of stars and come second.

But in my second year, I coached a group of girls who didn't know what they were doing. And I taught them. I learned what being a coach actually meant. More importantly, we all learned how to work hard.

So why am I talking about this now?

Because I've thought about quitting. It's this story that reminds me that I can be successful--if I put the work in.

This week, I posted a scene from my story online to get critiqued. It definitely got critiqued. It turns out, my writing isn't ready. And it's hard to accept that when everyone around you is getting an agent, and a movie deal, and their story has just been sold, or they've just gotten a full request.

It's hard to accept that you're not as close as you thought you were.

So my first thought, after seeing all those critiques, was to quit. Then, I remembered my second year as a coach.

And I remembered how I want to define myself. I'm someone who's not afraid of hard work. I'm darn glad that I have the chance to show it, too.

So here's to getting back up, to not giving up, and having the chance to show the type of person I am. I'm sure it'll all work out at the end. I just gotta keep working.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly, I love this post. We can achieve all of our dreams if we work hard. That's what makes the difference. I'll be sharing this with my soon to be teen, he's been struggling to keep up with his school work. And I know he just needs to work harder. I wish you the best in your writing career!