Friday, December 22
DISCLAIMER: I’m a little longer winded than our friend Dave who wrote the last guest blog. Hard to follow that guy up – but I’m honored to have the opportunity to write a post for this amazing community!
A story. By Amber Ginop. :)
“I’m going to say something that’s going to be hard to hear…but you need to hear it. I think you’re making a big mistake. You’re just not good enough to play at that level, Amber. And I think you’re going to be really disappointed when you realize it, and by that time, it’ll be too late.”
I remember the words coming out of his mouth like it was yesterday. As he said them, I had no idea the impact they would have on me not only over the next several months…but over the next several years (and counting).
He was the assistant soccer coach at the college program I had just asked to be released from. I was planning to transfer to GVSU at the semester and walk onto their women’s soccer team. A team that had just finished their season as the #2 program in the nation at the NCAA Division II level.
As I walked out of the athletic building, I replayed the interaction with him over and over again in my mind. The way he said the words, the way he looked as he said them, and the way my heart felt like it literally dropped to my stomach as he ushered me out of his office.
At that point, I had two choices: let that seed of doubt and discouragement plant inside my head and spread like damaging wildfire, OR, take his words and burn them in my memory to be used as motivation. I made my mind up that I would chose the latter, and that I wouldn’t look back and ever ask myself if I made the right decision.
To his credit, he was trying to convey what he thought was best for me, his comments weren’t meant to be mean or malicious, I don’t think. He was right, there were no guarantees, and this whole thing could turn out to be one big disaster. But, it had always been a dream of mine to play collegiate soccer at the highest level I could, and one of the best programs in the country just happened to be right in my backyard. How could I not at least try and go for it?
That single decision to use his words as motivation changed my life. Up to that point, I had always been a “go-getter” as they say, but I was also a massive people pleaser, someone who took everyone’s opinions of me to heart a little too much, always trying to make everyone happy with every decision I made.
For whatever reason, that day was different, something came over me and I became a little more stubborn and bold. I worked my butt off that winter, determined to prove him wrong and prove to myself that I could it, that I belonged on that team. Stepping out of my comfort zone wasn’t going to be easy, but the only thing I could do was to put the work in and put myself in the best possible position to succeed. And if I didn’t….well… at least I could look myself in the eye and know I literally did all I could. And I could live with that.
Fast forward a few months later. I officially made the GVSU Soccer team as a walk-on and earned myself a starting spot (in a position I had never played in my entire soccer career…go figure?!). I couldn’t believe it. Was this real life?
The first game of the season I found myself running around like a crazy person on the field because (A) I was SO FREAKING EXCITED about what was transpiring and (B) I was SO FREAKING OUT because I didn’t want to mess up and get yelled at and get kicked off the team. Dramatic, I know. I came off the field at halftime and I remember my coach saying “Bloem, what the heck are you doing out there?!” To which I breathlessly replied, “I have no idea!” But I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. This was really happening. I was playing under the lights on a dream team I couldn’t believe I had actually earned a spot on. My coach wasn’t all that impressed with my answer…but I eventually settled in and the game was a success.
Fast forward to two years later. Over the course of three seasons, I had worked myself into earning an athletic scholarship and I was playing in the last collegiate game of my career: the 2009 DII National Championship in Tampa, FL. We won that game 1-0. National Champs. I don’t really remember anything from the game, except that we won obviously, and that afterwards I was a hot mess. It felt like a dream. I was so incredibly grateful to my coaches, my teammates, my family…and especially to my old assistant soccer coach who said those words to me just a few short years ago.
It wasn’t a “gotcha” moment. I didn’t feel malicious in that I wanted to go back and say to him “See! I did it! I told you so.” (Ok maybe for like 2 seconds I felt like that, I can’t lie.) BUT, ultimately, I felt immense gratitude for his words – for they drove me forward.
For those of you that know me, you know that I love trying to be a motivating, positive force. This story is a big, BIG reason why. I learned a huge life lesson from that whole experience that I carry with me still today. If we could only realize the power we hold in our minds to do hard things, to put in the work and to push forward, we’d be unstoppable. If we’d stop putting so much weight into people’s opinions of us and the negative words they say that we allow to hold us back, we could accomplish so much more.
I know, easier said than done. Trust me, it’s a battle I still face daily, I think we all do. But the next time an opportunity or something tough comes up, whether it’s a new job that you think you want to apply for, but don’t believe “you’re qualified for,” a hard conversation that needs to be had but you’re nervous that “they’d look down on you for voicing your true opinion,” a new class you’ve been wanting to take but think you’d be “the worst/least talented one there,” make a bold choice. YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. And I bet you a chunk of change that you’ll surprise yourself. And even if it doesn’t work out every time, you’ll feel like a ninja for going for it. It’s all about that progress, baby.
Remember, there will always be the people who are going to try and tell you no. They’ll say that you’re not good enough or strong enough or qualified enough. And, just like my favorite Nike ad of all time that I used to tack up on my bedroom wall year after year (cheesy I know) … remember that you have the choice to turn around, look them in the eye and tell them “YES. I can do this, and I will. Watch.”
Workout for Friday, December 22
Heavy Object Carries - 5X100'
*50' down, 50' back without dropping object*
5 Rounds, 3 min each Round
15/10 Cal Bike Sprint
*Scale HSPU with Seated DB Press