Monday, June 27, 2011

Per L'amore Del Gioco: For The Love of The Game

I find it to be pretty amazing that events can take place and without even realizing it at the time it becomes a big step forward in my journey through grief. Since my dad passed away it has been very difficult for me to watch any sports events. The only sporting event that I really got into was the games leading up to the Super Bowl because I felt like watching the Pittsburgh Steelers was the one way I could feel close to my dad. I knew in my heart that the last thing my dad would have wanted was for me to stop watching the team that I had followed the entire year. Once the Super Bowl was over I lost interest in all the other teams that I used to follow very closely. The huge Laker fan I once was no longer existed and when people asked me about the Pittsburgh Penguins I was unable to answer any questions. Then there was soccer, a game I grew up playing and then followed that with coaching. However, I no longer cared about the game that I once could not live without.

Soccer was the one thing that could never tear my dad and I apart. We would talk constantly about different tactics that teams needed to work on and our opinions on games that we watched. It was the one sport that always brought us closer. He went to as many of my games as he possibly could and gave up so much of his time to be there for me. My dad was one of my biggest fans and he loved watching me play. There wasn't a lot of things that I thought my dad was proud of me for but one thing is for sure I always knew that he was proud of how I played. It made him so happy to see me challenge myself and push to be the best player I could. He always told me that he was amazed by my ability to fight and to never give up. Soccer was the one thing that I felt like I could never mess up at. When I played well he was extremely happy, when I lost he was still proud of my effort, and when I got hurt he was scared but right by my side through it all.

Even at a young age my dad would always tell me that one day I would make a great coach. He thought that I could see the field differently then a lot of people could and he also said that my ability to be patient with kids would make me such a great mentor. I began to feel that he was right and that coaching was the one thing I wanted to do when I got older. That time came and I found myself coaching girls under 12 for the Ramona Intra Soccer club. I absolutely loved coaching these girls. I was more of a trainer but I had accepted a lot of the coaching roles. Once again I felt like my dad was proud of me. He would come and watch me coach and tell me how well the girls listened to me. He would tell me things I needed to work on and what he noticed about the team but it was a time that I actually felt we understood each other. I continued to coach and began coaching freshman soccer at Ramona High. Not only was I coaching one team but I was coaching girls and boys freshman at the same time. It was a challenge but I loved it.

Fast forward a few years and there I was playing my last game, my senior game of college and I was sick with swine flu, which I was diagnosed with the day before. The morning of the game my dad called me and said, "I know you are sick and hurt but I think you should play as much as you can because I don't want you to regret missing this game." As my parents walked on to the field to meet me for the senior ceremony, I could see how proud they were of me. It was a moment that I will never forget and I am so thankful that my dad was able to see me play one more game for him.

Finally, the present, the most current event, and a change in how I felt about soccer the same day the Womens World Cup was starting. I was invited to a tournament in Temecula with a family that I have become very close with through work. They have been awesome in so many ways and when I was asked to go watch Kirsten play I just couldn't pass it up. I loved every part of the trip; the traveling, the sun, the waiting, watching, and trophy ceremony. It was the first time in a while that I found myself truly enjoying the game of soccer. The first game I found myself just sitting, watching, and smiling at what was in front of me. The second game I was more into it and actually was saying things about what I noticed on the field. I wanted to be involved. I wasn't handling sitting on the sideline very well because I missed what it was like on the field. I honestly can't remember the last time that I truly missed soccer as much as I did on Sunday. It was such a good feeling and as I continued to think about my day in Temecula I realized how much I want to be apart of that.

I don't know what my future is going to be with soccer and I don't even know if I will ever be able to play again but I am thankful I didn't turn down the offer to go to Kirsten's game on Sunday. It was a step forward for me, it was a step in the direction of getting my life to be more normal again. I hope I have some type of future that involves soccer, because I really do love the game. I don't think I will ever not love the game. Yes, I have had some pretty rough moments but I wouldn't take any of those back. I have been feeling some regret lately because of my struggles with my ankle but I don't want to ever regret the fact that I lived and loved the game of soccer. It is for that reason that I do hope one day I am on the sideline coaching or even able to play in another game.

So, without even knowing, I made a huge step in this process and I found a hidden love for a game that will always be a huge piece of my life. I don't want to run away from the game of soccer because the memories that I have are memories that I would never want to forget. Some of my best memories of my dad involve sports and some of my biggest accomplishments consist of things I did on a soccer field. If it wasn't for soccer and my injuries then I wouldn't be in the place I am now. I wouldn't be working at Rehab United and I wouldn't have met all the amazing people that I have had the chance to get to know. It is for that reason that I will not regret playing soccer. I now know that I can't live without the game of soccer even if it's just watching. I am looking forward to the World Cup and I am excited to see how well the USA plays.

I am so glad that I continue to make big strides in healing. Even when I feel like all I am doing is going backwards, there is always one area that I am moving forward. I guess that is what happens when you are apart of something that is constantly shifting up and down. I am not always aware of things that are taking place but at some point I realize the steps I am taking to living the life I once had. The goal is to create a new normal but to not forget about where I came from. Although we are told to not live in the past, I feel as if my past is a big part of my future. My past at this point is the only thing that keeps me close to my dad and reminds me that those memories will always be there, no one can take that away from me.  It's amazing to me how our minds have the ability to choose what it wants to remember and what it should block out without us even realizing it. I am thankful that God has given me the ability to move past the things I need to and to return to those moments when I am prepared to handle them. I was finally prepared to reunite with a game I love so much.

Soccer is apart of me and always will be, I will never lose the love I have for a game that has shaped my life in so many ways.

God Bless,

1 comment:

  1. This is such a nice testimony Taylor..i an super inspired..Thanks for sharing it with us. Blessings always