The struggle is only temporary and true reward is often on the other side. This lesson is never a fun one to figure out. Usually, it takes a great deal of suffering and pain to arrive at this finding. Though my pain and suffering can’t be compared to those who have gone through or are going through much more challenging times than football, it still managed to help prepare me for more difficult times in life than Xs and Os.
I remember when I first walked on at UCONN. I was super comfortable at the time when I decided to start training for try-outs. I thought to myself I can play with those guys, I need to play with them, I needed to prove to myself that I could play at that level. I thought I knew what I was getting into. LOL.
I made tryouts my “you know the saying”. I felt as high and mighty as one could feel. I felt that it was a breeze and thought being on the team would be a similar experience. Man was I wrong. We started off with 300m shuttles and modified spin to get our legs up to speed, this was tough but nothing too crazy. Then after about a week of doing this every day we were thrust onto the football field. That’s where the struggle began. I have never ran, jumped or cut that much in my life. My shins were in absolute agony. On top of that, our job as scout team was to give a good look to the starters. It had been years since I was hit hard by anyone or anything. I had grown, what I would consider, soft. The beating we took on special teams and from the defense was excruciating. Over and over again we were battered. Many of the other walk-ons who made the cut ended up quitting a few weeks in and I don’t blame them. It sucked. Let alone when we went to games everyone else had their names on the backs of their jerseys and ours were blank. We knew we had no shot of playing on gameday and that made taking those beatings even more difficult to take. I wanted to quit. I wanted to be back to my comfortable, unchallenged life. However, it was my remembrance as to why I joined which helped guide me through the struggle, through the pain and eventually earn my way onto the traveling team and earn my playing time.
Had I quit, I would have never known if I could play at that level, I would probably talk a lotta woulda coulda shouldas. Luckily I did not quit and I was able to learn a valuable lesson, which is often on the other side of struggle is success and eventually, you will make it out of that struggle. This grit has helped me persevere on some of my days when everything feels like a lot. If it was easy, everyone would do it. There is a reason why it is challenging, and the reward will be that much sweeter when you know you gave it your all.