That One Day
Every now and then I reflect on a specific day that greatly changed the way I think.
This particular day for me was in Coronado, Ca where we schlepped our Rugby Academy guys to a day of training with the Navy Seals. As a staff member, this day was not meant for me. I was there as support and to help take photos and video. But as our boys were walking away from us, I was overcome with one of the purest feelings I have every felt - I HAVE to participate in this. I felt it in every cell of my being.
I flung my jacket at Kiel, shoved the camcorder in Steve’s hands and ran off after them. I will admit I felt a bit silly when I realized they were not in fact beginning the session yet, just scopin’ out the obstacle course. But I was in.
Approximately two exercises into the multi-hour “workout”, as i was dragging my body down the beach using only my twig arms, I thought, "I may have made a terrible mistake." And this, THIS, was my turning point, because my very next thought was, “yep, you sure did. But now we’re in. And there is a 0% chance that we are backing out now.” Once I confirmed that with myself, all that was left was to settle in and do the best I could. Despite those few hours being some of the most challenging i’ve been through, I was one of the few weirdos who genuinely enjoyed every bit of it.
Apparently, this was also a day for talking to myself, because this experience also led me to one of my tattoos. Early in the session I scraped my arm and some calm, clear part of my mind decided then and there that it would likely scar and that i would cover it with a tattoo of an arrow. My rational mind thought that was pretty dumb in the moment, but the idea stuck. I love the idea that an arrow has to draw back before it launches forward.
It was around this time that I decided to pursue semi-professional soccer. I had unsuccessfully tried out for the college club team several times while in school, and at the time it felt like a great defeat, but I decided instead that it was simply the drawing back of my arrow and that it was time to launch. I got the arrow tattoo on my right forearm, over that invisible scar, after making my first semi-pro team.
As I am now facing the next soccer phase of transitioning out of playing competitively, I have been struggling to figure out what my life looks like without higher level soccer. I find myself reflecting on that day with the Seals and it brings me some comfort. The lessons I learned there can applied to much, much more than just sports.
I believe that most warriors do not venture out with just one arrow. Perhaps my semi-pro soccer arrow has sailed, so it is time to load the next arrow, draw it back, aim, and shoot for the next target.