I remember standing in the gym hallway at my old high school waiting for my turn to see the team lists posted on the wall. To this day when I think of that moment, I can almost still smell the slight scent of sweat and floor cleaner coming through the gym doors. I nervously scrolled through the list of names typed on that piece of paper. One list was marked Team A. The other was marked Team B. As my finger made its way to the end of team A, passing each one of my soccer playing friends names, my heart, that was beating so fast I could hear it thudding in my ears, immediately sunk. My hands felt shaky and I thought I was going to be sick. I didn’t even have to look at team B, I knew my name must be over there. But I couldn’t for the life of me understand why. I had played soccer for years, practically my whole childhood to be exact. I had started the few games I actually played that freshman year (before dislocating my shoulder and being pulled for the rest of the season). But I had done physical therapy and worked out and felt back to 100%. I had worked hard to get back and ready for the travel season.
I thought I had done pretty good during try outs, yet there I was…standing in a stinky hallway being stripped of every ounce of pride I had. Sure it was only the indoor/outdoor travel league and in the grand scheme of things those teams really didn’t matter. But in that moment, it mattered. It mattered a lot. I left school that day humiliated and broken hearted. I remember feeling so embarrassed as each one of my friends approached me and told me they were sorry and that there must be a mistake. I cried myself to sleep that night thinking I wasn’t good enough. Convincing myself I should just quit altogether. In that moment I looked at myself through the eyes of some coach who didn’t see my worth. And I could no longer see my worth, not just as a soccer player but as a person. That may sound extreme to us as adults, but when you’re a freshman in high school it’s easy for your self esteem to already be pretty low. So a hit like this, knocked me off my feet. It took the one thing I felt good at, and it ripped it away.
About a month went by and it was time to start our travel season, when we “the B team” were hit with another blow. We didn’t have a coach who wanted to coach us. I remember hearing that news and feeling like I was living in the movie “The Might Ducks”… But we were not the good team who beats the Hawks at the end.. We were the bad team in the beginning of the Movie that was made up of all the players that no one wanted to take the time to coach and make better.
It wasn’t until my dad, someone who never played soccer but knew how important it was to me, stepped up and Committed to being our coach. I remember him studying soccer books and magazines to come up with drills and strategies. He showed up to every practice and game and cheered us on and reminded us we were capable. He even made the game fun again, something it really hadn’t been in quite some time. I remember one sunny afternoon we were practicing on one field and the “A team” was practicing on another field within view, and I remember thinking, they couldn’t pay me to switch teams now. It was in that moment, I remembered what made me love soccer so much, and it was in that moment I started to piece not just my pride back together but my self esteem as well. We went on to have a very successful travel season, and that next fall I started every JV game we had. Team A and team B meant nothing to our school coach, and it took me seeing myself for who I really was, both as a soccer player and a person, to not care anymore either.
Throughout the years I have found myself fighting similar battles, especially in motherhood. I have let someone else’s view of me, as a mother or as a wife or simply as a person determine how I felt about myself more often then I care to admit. There have been times that I haven chosen different paths for my children or made choices others didn’t agree with and instead of always standing strong in my convictions, I have swayed.. I have stood uneasy in my own skin wondering if what I was doing was wrong or not good enough based upon someone else’s view of me.
But it’s moments like this that I have to remember that girl, on that sunny day out on that soccer field looking over at the other soccer field where most of my friends were and remember.. I am here for a reason. That other coach across that beautiful green grass didn’t know me. She didn’t give me a chance and she didn’t take time to get to know my circumstances. And odds are, I am a better person because of it. Funny how life works that way, isnt it? That even in the midst of heart break, and hard decisions, there is always a lesson to be learned.
So I guess I tell you all of that to share a lesson I have needed to relearn many times. And that is, to simply not view yourself through someone else’s lenses. Because odds are, they don’t know your circumstances, and they don’t know the who you truly are. But if you decide you really need another perspective, let it only be Gods. And then, and only then will you see your inner truths. ❤️