As you may or may not know-I LOVE European football-soccer. To be honest, I say that I started watching it because of “co-habitation”. My SO is a Brit and has been following the same team for “Donkey’s Years”-as he would say. Isn’t that a funny expression? I mean, exactly how long is a Donkey’s Year? If any of you reading this are British, I’m open to being enlightened on this one! Anyway, because it was a World Cup year when we first got together and he watched EVERY game, I slowly started watching it. And then became hooked on it-if it’s a good game. What constitutes a good game for me? Well, great open play. I always like a little drama-some yellow cards and maybe a red if it’s not a player from a team I’m supporting-so a little controversy. Tough play-although I hate to see people injured or even worse. An agitated manager on the sidelines is always fun to watch as is a good, interactive “12th Man”-which is the crowd itself. I’ve come to appreciate the almost balletic dance a great player does-some would call this dribbling with the ball-but to me, watching a fantastic player or a team that is in total sync with one another, is like watching a dance performance. Of course the sheer athleticism of these guys is amazing-I mean they’re sprinting for 90 minutes. And of course, I love goals-especially when it’s my team scoring them-but I can appreciate a great goal no matter who made it.
At the end of every game-there’s a winner and a loser. Of course, depending on the team or the game, the losers can be devastated. Although, at times, a tie, can be a win for a team. So while I have been watching football games this whole season-following both English and Spanish football primarily, I keep up with French as well. And, as you may or may not know-aside from the English League or the Spanish League, there’s also the Champions League. This brings together the top teams from each league in Europe. While every game is important and winnning is winning- in addition to winning whichever league a team is in, winning the Champions League is at the top–because it means that team is the best in all of Europe.
I’ve seen one of the favorites-Barcelona (my first and foremost favoirte team) knocked out by Roma-a team who completely gave it their all and totally and unexpectedly, won that round. I’m not sure they’ve ever gone that far in this competition. I saw Man City-a team that has won the Premiere League and plays a really beautiful game, get knocked out by Liverpool. I saw Juventes fans totally decimated in the first leg against Real Madrid, but still stand and cheer when a Madrid player made an AMAZING bicycle kick goal. Then Juve regrouped and outplayed Real Madrid in the second round-only to lose in the last minute of the game. Talk about controversy!!!
Of course the players and managers of the losing teams were devastated-In fact, many managers get fired if they lose this competition. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the Real Madrid manager had been fired if they’d lost-in spite of having a good record. This football world is brutal-to players and to management. But in thinking about this, I think one of the things that, in spite of everything else I have gone into at length, that always strikes me the most is how an underdog can pull themselves up and win. How at times, even though they’ve “lost”, they’re winners. How they can pull way down deep to do whatever it takes to win. Under immense pressure. And just as impressive to me, is how that team that lost-those players who feel they’ve let their fans down and at times are seen crying on the pitch after losing an important game, pull themselves together and go on. They just start over the next day-the next game.
See where I’m going with this? I read so many blogs where people are trying to quit drinking-or quit whatever it is they want to quit-and can’t do it. Or they go for a length of time-sometimes only a few days or weeks, sometimes a few months or years and then, they’re drinking again. Beating themselves up over it. Feeling guilt and shame. Feeling like a loser. Let me say this- there are no losers! We are all winners. We all, just like those underdog teams have the capacity to pull it together and win. Do we have setbacks? Yes, of course. We all experience setbacks in our lives at some time or another. And that’s okay. Because a “setback” is just that. It’s a “check in progress”.. It is not a failure. It’s an opportunity to think about how to do it differently next time. I have a friend, who has a horrible time when she goes shopping. Me-I love going to TJ or TK Maxx-H&M-I don’t mind digging and really focusing and finding a good something. But it’s too much for her-and yet she keeps going to these places and they are just too overwhelming for her. So the other day, I pointed out that she needs to find another store or stores that fit her and how her mind works-say Zara. ( I know in the UK Zara is always crowded and with lots of stuff going on, but here it’s always nice and tidy and never many people in it.) It’s just about finding a “way in”-finding what works best with who we are.
While we may not all be elite atheletes, but I do believe that we all share something in common with them. We can each and everyone of us be the absolute best we can be. I believe that we are meant to be the best that we can be. I’ve mentioned the “Soul-u-lar Level” before- that place that knows what’s right for us. The place where our Truth lies. It’s also the place that lets us know when something isn’t right. Continuous discomfort about something is a huge sign that we need to make a change in our lives. It’s a sign that we should stop being afraid to be the best we can be. I also recognize that this can be scary, but trust me, so much will open up for you. It’s okay to be the best you can be! It’s okay to excel at being you-in your own, unique, individual way. Why?
Because you’re a winner! We are ALL winners!