It’s Wednesday, the 5th of March, 2014. Barely three months after my last game in Holland’s lowest amateur league, I sit on the cold, wet grass of FC Eindhoven, watching a friendly game between our first team and the Belgian VC Moldavo. And oh boy, how I would’ve loved to play in that match. ‘Our girls’ win by 4-3, and I’m incredibly impressed. An actual international match.
For the statistics, and for Facebook
It’s Saturday, the 19th of September, 2015. Because of some injuries I find myself being the third and final substitute player on the bench for FC Eindhoven’s leage game against Saestum. After our trainer has used two of his subs, and we’re down by 7-0 already, I expect to at least get to play the last five minutes, and thereby making my debut in the Topklasse, the highest amateur tier in Holland. If only for the statistics, and so that I could put a cool status update on Facebook later that day. It doesn’t happen. The entire bus trip back to Eindhoven I hide my face in my training jacket and cry as softly as possible.
It’s Friday, the 21st of April, 2017. Relaxed, I sit on the couch, and decide to check the website of our opponents for tomorrow’s game: KAA Gent’s second team. When I realise how long our bus trip is going to be, I catch myself being slightly annoyed. A 90-minute one-way drive, and that’s without traffic jams and restroom stops. Then, I suddenly realize how foolish I’m being. Two years ago I would’ve killed (well, not literally…) to be playing in a first team, to take a bus to an away game, and to play at the highest amateur level.
And that’s exactly the problem with dreams coming true. Whether it’s being in the starting eleven in a soccer match, getting the car you had been saving up for for so long, or a relationship with that person you’d been secretly in love with. ‘We want what we can’t have, the commodity makes us want it,’ Macklemore raps in his song Wings. In a way, us humans aren’t all that different from Scrat, the squirrel from Ice Age, forever in pursuit of his beloved acorn.
‘A bit stupid…’
But does that make reaching your goals less amazing? No, absolutely not. It just means that from time to time, you have to pause and realize how quickly you get used to a new situation. I do that, partly by keeping a ‘soccer journal’ (yes, certain former teammates, I can still hear you making fun of me for this, and that’s totally allowed). When I read what was bothering me a few years ago, I feel more than just a bit stupid. But reading it does help me keep both feet on the ground, even when things don’t go the way I want them to go. A small injury or not playing might seem like the world’s biggest drama on the day itself, but in the ‘grand scheme of things’, you’re probably not even going to remember it.
A very honest dad
And what if even all that doesn’t work anymore? In that case, make sure you have an extremely honest person in your life. Someone that tells you what you need to hear, even if you don’t really want to hear it. For me, that’s my dad. He immediately heard it, the tiny little sliver of annoyment in my voice, when I told him about the bus trip to Gent. ‘Emma, listen to yourself,’ he laughed. ‘For years you’ve been working towards this, and now that you finally have it, you start complaining!’ Yeah, he’s totally right. And going easy on me, this time. I have gotten used to it. Time to set even bigger goals.
Thanks for reading, talk soon! 🙂