“A football player”. That was my answer as a child when people asked me what I wanted to be when an adult.
I’m not a football player. I failed to achieve the biggest dream of my life.
That was the thing I wanted the most in my life. And it still is. It was not necessary to be a big football star, to earn millions and to win a World Cup. Of course I would have loved that, but I would have been more than happy with life if kicking a ball had given me the opportunity to buy my food and have a roof above my head.
Years passed by and reality started to kill my dream.
First of all, my quality couldn’t warranty success. I play ok when I’m with friends and I consider myself to be a clever piece in my teams, but that didn’t give enough confidence in order to know that, if I tried, I could make a living out of football.
In addition, there was only one club in my hometown that could be the link to a biggest institution. The coach of the team wasn’t interested in developing children but in winning. That didn’t work. The result? No chances at all. Against my will, I had to accept that I was going to spend all my life out of a football pitch. At least in a professional way.
Can you imagine how hard and how sad it is to make the biggest failure of your life when you are 15 years old?
Can you imagine how disappointing it is to know that you are going to spend the rest of your life doing something that is not the thing you like the most?
Can you imagine how heartbreaking it is to wake up everyday, going to the wardrobe and grabbing a pair of smart shoes instead of the football boots?
Yes. Deeply sad.
But life went on.
When I say I like football I mean I like it in all it formats. 11-a-side, 5-a-side, indoor, outdoor, on the street, with socks instead of a ball, with bags instead of posts. I like playing it, watching it, reading about it, discussing about it. Most (if not all) of my relationships wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for the existence of football.
After my dream was ruined, I continued to have a beautiful relationship with football. Since then, I play when I can. I love playing with my friends, we have a team and whenever life decides to put all of us in the same city we play together.
I love reading and writing. Can you guess about what? Yes, about football. Books, magazines, articles, everything. I also love watching documentaries, films, YouTube videos. The game itself is really important, but football is also a perfect excuse to understand political and social situations, to help children find their paths in life and to get together with the people you love.
But I couldn’t be passive anymore. I had to do something about it. I knew being a footballer was almost impossible, so I had to go for another option.
As I said, I leave creating content in all the formats possible, so I thought sports journalism would be the best thing for me.
I went to university for three years. I graduated. I have my sports journalism degree. The industry is a little bit complicated at the moment, but I’m trying to build my own path in the content creation world.
But still, I wasn’t part of the game. What about being a referee? In my country that’s dangerous. Referees receive threats, got punched and need to be escorted by the police before and after the games. No, thanks.
What about being a coach? Great, sounds good. Although tactics and training are a totally different world than watching and playing I needed to give it a go. I started the football coaching course a couple of months ago. I think I like it, but I still can’t say whether this has been a success or not.
In the present, football is still part of my life. I like watching important games, playing, taking about it, everything. It will be in my life forever because, honestly, it’s the thing I love the most.
It’s like loving a person that is out of your league. You know it’s not going to happen, but you still love them. You don’t know why, but you feel the obligation to love them, knowing you’ll never have them.
Whenever I stop for a minute and think about it, I feel like crying. Knowing that the rest of my life is not going to be like I want it to be is painful. My heart aches a little bit. Actually, it aches a lot.
Of course I can become a coach or a journalist. I can be really successful and actually make a living out of football and that wouldn’t be bad at all. But it won’t be the same.
I try to forget about that. It’s complicated. There are teenagers that had won the World Cup. They are younger than me. How can’t I be sad?
Is there anything I can do about it? Not really.
If I had a list of my life goals, the most important one would be crossed out. There are others that are still important and there’s plenty of time for me to achieve those. I’ll try, I’ll give my best. But it will hurt every time I see that big cross at the top of the list.
Hey, listen. My dream is impossible to achieve, but maybe yours is not. If it’s not too late, go for it. Forget about everything else, about EVERYTHING. Just go and follow your dream. Just by trying you increase your chances.
Go for it, don’t even think about it. Believe me, you don’t want to spend the rest of your life knowing that the game is over.