Janet Sumner Johnson
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When You Have Nothing Left: On Soccer and Writing

May 12, 2014 Uncategorized 4 comments

So I started a soccer team. After watching my boys play, all the love for the game came rushing back until I couldn’t stand it. I had to play. That’s all there was to it.
There I am, circled. 🙂

My husband found an indoor soccer place with a women’s league, and I convinced all my friends that they needed this in their lives. And it’s kindof been awesome.

It doesn’t matter that most of the women I play with have never played before. It doesn’t matter that our team is terrible (if we can keep the other team to single digits, we feel pretty good!). We are out there taking a risk. Doing something different and having fun!

And being on the field has reminded why I love this sport so much. You have to dig deep, and run harder and faster than you think you can. Even when you have nothing left, you push yourself, because if you don’t, you’re not just letting yourself down, you’re letting your teammates down.

The ball rolls free and it’s a race. Muscles tense, you fly to beat your opponent. In that moment, you forget the ache, forget the scream in your lungs, because if the other team gets it, the opportunity is gone.

If you don’t give it everything you have, you wind up like a puppet–yanked around while you, half-heartedly chase something you will never catch.

Writing is like this. As an author, you have to push yourself harder and dig deeper than you think is possible. It takes will power to make yourself sit in that chair and write. It takes focus to get those words from your brain onto paper.

And once it’s down, that’s only the beginning. Then you have to push yourself to find the story that’s hiding in there. The one that wants to come out and shine if only you can dig deep enough. If only you can get past that voice that says it’s too hard. Or that you aren’t good enough. Or that your story’s not good enough.

Push yourself! That ball is bouncing just out of reach, and if you don’t give it your all, you will wind up chasing a dream that is always just out of reach. Always so close, but never in your grasp. Instead of shining, you become a shadow of what you could be.

We won’t always win, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is knowing you gave it your all. You gave it everything you had and then you gave more. You didn’t quit. You focused. You conquered yourself and came out just a wee bit better.

And all those wee bits add up.

How do you push yourself?


4 Responses to “When You Have Nothing Left: On Soccer and Writing”

  1. Old Kitty says:

    Well done you for playing sport and for giving it your all! My athleticism begins and ends with mild walking. LOL!

    Take care

  2. Excellent comparison, Janet! It's all about the digging deep! Good for you for going after what you love! 🙂

  3. Slamdunk says:

    Good for you Janet. I am sure that your teammates are excited that you gave them an opportunity to love the game as well.

    I enjoy competing and am motivated when I see someone else racing for a ball (as you describe in your post). It can be tough sometimes to just motivate myself to go running or something, but adding a competition or game to the exercise is usually a winner for me.

  4. Marcia says:

    Very good analogy. I've always found the digging deeper more possible with writing than with any physical pursuit.

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