|The fields still look the same, with the exception of the Dell Diamond in the background.|
I was a pretty driven kid back in those days who wasn't afraid to work on my skills on my own outside of team practice. When I wasn't at school, I could be found dribbling and shooting the ball, even if it was just against a wall. Who knows how long I would be out there practicing. This weekend I went on a run through the park where I spend many hours as a girl and I couldn't help but have a flood of memories come back.
Childhood work ethic aside, you are probably wondering why I would title this week's post as such, so I'll provide a little background. I spent my elementary and some Junior High years in Central Texas playing soccer. I worked my way up to a team called the 'American Soccer Club Eagles' in the local select league in the 5th grade, however, there was a small price to pay: we had to rock our red Umbro shorts (remember those?!) with "EAGLES" in giant block letting across our backsides. Yup, we quickly became known as the "Eagle Butts"! Obnoxious shorts and all, give my club soccer days some credit to teaching me what it takes to be a serious athlete and how to be consistent. That and my larger-than-average calves and quads! It's 15 years later I STILL get asked in public by strangers if I'm a soccer player! Sigh.
So flash forward to present day- I had a 45-minute grass run planned for Saturday, my mom just moved literally 3 miles away from OSP so I had to put some time in there on the same fields I practiced and played proudly as an "Eagle Butt". As I ran, it was funny to look back at some of the similarities in myself today vs. yesterday. Was I the best girl out on the field? Not really. Was I the most aggressive one out there and was I not afraid to put the work in? Most of the time, yes, although I had my moments.
While I'm no longer trying to place the ball in the net to my precise liking as a prerequisite to be able to go home for the day (I had this thing about ending every practice on a good note) I am still always trying to become a better athlete, even into my 30's. It was this odd intrinsic motivation that drove me to want to be the best on the field, which turned into the one of the best on the track (until a wicked case of performance anxiety kept me out of HS competition an temporarily back on the field), and to everything that I have accomplished today. That drive had me getting out the door early on a Saturday morning before work, putting in just a slow, easy post-injury run, and working on making some things happen again, whatever and whenever they may be, and I was excited to do my "long run Saturday" even if it was half of the usual.
I had to smile as I ran around those fields. It was then I started to feel some power in my stride come back underneath my Brooks Ghosts, the familiar back kick I have and secretly take pride in-a slowed-down version, but a step in the right direction. When my watch read "45:00" I started to ask myself "C'mon, just 5 more minutes", but I decided to politely decline, knowing I was ending on a good note for the day. By the time I cooled down, it was time for both a trail 5k to start alongside a day of soccer games. That and some hot-air balloon event.
|The picture doesn't do justice of watching the sun come up with balloons on the horizon. Pretty sweet.|
Stay driven on the course.