I told myself before going down to IMG Academy for preseason camp that I was going to have a post recapping our time in Florida and the progress we made as a team as well as myself individually. However, that obviously didn’t happen. And while I know the main point of these entries is to offer an inside look at the day to day life of a player, I also strongly believe that some things, if not many things, are to remain in house so you’ll have to excuse me for keeping some parts secret.
You’ll also have to excuse me for jumping ahead a few weeks and bypassing the friendly against Indy Eleven. There was plenty to take away from that game and plenty to write about but I’ve had something heavier weighing on my mind that I feel inclined to elaborate on.
Yesterday was one of those days. For all the athletes out there, it was one of those days where you’re good 9 out of 10 times, but that 1 mistake you make over shadows the 9 times you were decent. It’s awfully cliche, but for me personally, my biggest flaw is being a perfectionist. Not just in soccer, but in everything I do.
At the end of training yesterday I found myself not necessarily displeased with my performance but rather disappointed that I had let my mistake(s) become all I could think about - the perfectionist in me. However, within seconds of walking off the pitch, my entire mentality shifted directions. Yes, I was still upset I made mistakes, that’s normal, that’s the competitor in me, but once I walked into the locker room, I was grateful those mistakes happened. I was excited I wasn’t “good enough.” I was excited because I saw those mistakes as an opportunity to get better, an opportunity to learn, a chance to improve.
I ended up tweeting out essentially everything I said above and whether he reads this or not, my Pops, who is one of my biggest role models in every aspect of my life, messaged me back and asked me if I had a bad day. I told him it wasn’t necessarily a bad day, but rather just one of those days where I know I could’ve done better. His response was something I will never forget, something that I’ve saved on my phone for when the next tough day comes, because inevitably, they will come - that’s life. He told me, “We can’t be perfect. We can only strive for perfection. Keep striving!”
His response came hours after training, hours after I had already watched the film from the session and broken down and analyzed exactly where and how I messed up, hours after I had accepted the day for what it was - an opportunity to learn. But his response resonated with me further - it went bigger picture. It went beyond just me and my rough day at training - it brought me here, writing to y’all.
I may be young and still very much new to what life may throw my way, but I find that we, as humans, routinely find ourselves harping over our mistakes. Routinely saying, well, it could’ve been or should’ve been this or that. And while I’m as guilty as the next, I write to y’all today to challenge each and every one of you to break that stigma - the idea that we have to be perfect. We will never be perfect. We can only strive for perfection. I challenge y’all to accept your mistakes for what they are, to learn from them, to become better because of them - to keep striving because of them!
Much love and keep striving!