Today, on the day that Johan Cruijff would’ve turned 71, I cannot write a blog without mentioning some football clichés, of course. The ball is round, If you can’t win, make sure you don’t lose, Every disadvantage has its advantage. So terribly cliché, every single one of those, but at the same time all so true.
Until the summer of last year, my ‘football journey’ exceeded my expectations season after season. I was taking big steps, both in my development as a player as in the level I was playing at, never faced any serious injuries and met some amazing people along the way. But things like that never last, and definitely not in the world of sports. The past year, everything happend at once: motivational problems, a hamstring injury, and the ‘man with the hammer‘, that I described in my last blog. But as it turns out, in football, truly nothing is impossible.
The people that follow me on social media may have read about it at some point, but last week I got to announce to the world that I have signed with KSK Heist for next season, a team that plays its matches in the Belgian Super League (the highest level in Belgian football). A dream transfer, after a nightmare season.
Is it a risk? Yes, and a big one. Can I fail completely? Absolutely. Am I currently good enough to compete fot a starting position in a Super League squad? I have no clue. But there is one thing that I know for sure. A couple of years ago, I had a dream. A dream, to make it from the lowest to the highest level in football. And whatever happens next season, that dream has become a reality. Everything else will follow.
I hope you can forgive me, but I want to use a good old cliché myself here. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from everything that has happened over these past few weeks, it is (here it comes…): if I can do it, anybody can. Trust me.
The last few days, a lot of people have come up to me to congratulate me. At school, at my current club, even just randomly on the street. They tell me they read about my transfer in the newspaper, and usually add something about wishing me luck or saying how impressed they am that I made it. And regardless of how amazing that is (so seriously, everyone, thank you so much for all those kind words), it also feels a little bit strange. Because if you ask me, I didn’t do anything particularly special or unusual. And that’s not some lame attempt at false modesty, I really mean it.
All it takes
So if I can leave you with one message today, dear reader, it has to be this. Reaching your goals in life is not easy. But it is definitely simple. Do not give up. I know, another one of those clichés that half the globe has hanging on their walls in an IKEA-frame, but that’s all there is to it. That is ‘the secret’. That’s all it takes.
Crying in a corner
Of course, there are many more things that come into play, like a little bit of luck here and there, the courage to take steps and the willingness to fall flat on your face from time to time. But do yourself a favour. Go sit and cry in a corner for a while, and allow yourself an extreme amount of self-pity while you do that (if I may make a suggestion for some musical accompaniment that tends to work well in moments like those: here you go), and when you’re done, get back up. Pull yourself together, and start from the top. Again, and again, and again.
Now I know, what I’m trying to convince you of here today is not new information. But I can tell you from my own humble experience that this is the only thing that I’ve done over these past five years that I feel proud of. Getting back up. Every time. More often than not it took some encouraging and loving words from family and friends to make me do it, but in the end, I always got back up. Until one time, it worked.
What next season is going to bring, I haven’t got a single clue. It could turn into a raging success, a giant failure, or everything in between. Of course, I will also be documenting and sharing my adventures at my new club with you, and from there, just see what happens. I’m going to work hard t become a better player every single day, with my head held high. Because like Johan used to say: ‘If you don’t shoot, you’ll never score’. Amen.
Thanks for reading, talk soon! 🙂