A view from my side.
Kid#3 is the athlete. He’s on the small side, only 5’7″, weighing in at a whopping 120 lbs dripping wet. Despite his diminutive size, he’s a Varsity Team Captain on his school’s soccer team. Over the years, he has always overcome the size issue with his skill, vision, drive and determination. But more than anything else, it has been his sense of having fun that has been the secret to his success.
He began playing about the same time he could walk. I have a picture of him in my office when he was about 4 years old. I am coaching a high school match and have Dylan on the sideline with the team. In the picture, he is standing in front of me and I am holding him back from running out on the field to play. He grew up around it, spending much of his time on the field with my various teams.
Dylan’s success on the field is inspirational. The stories I could tell about his accomplishments would make you shake your head, laugh out loud and just say “wow.” But the real story, the real lesson more accurately, is in his desire to “Bike it.” The most difficult shot in soccer to hit, let alone put on frame or even more rarely into the net, he has made it his goal to bury one in the back of the net.
The bike is an amazing shot. It is flashy. It is showy. It is pretty. Many people try it and most often they fail even to hit the ball. That’s what makes it so special when someone actually does hit it. Wayne Rooney hit one last season in a Manchester United v Manchester City match. It was phenomenal. It was the #1 highlight on ESPN’s show for weeks. Topping the basketball highlights in a hugely basketball country, it proved that even non soccer fans can appreciate the incredible accomplishment.
Dylan has hit several bikes in his career. He has yet to put one in the net, but he has hit the post many times and forced the keeper to make some impressive saves. When he tries it, it’s a safe bet he will at least hit the ball. He doesn’t try it often, so many things need to “add up” to make it even possible, but when he does, those that know him hold their breath. They know they may very well see something not often seen in a professional match, let alone a high school game.
So what’s the lesson I alluded to above. What lesson do I tell the players on my teams about Dylan’s desire to “bike it”? There are many obvious ones. Don’t be afraid to set high goals for yourself; don’t be afraid to reach for the stars; don’t be afraid to train hard; don’t be afraid to fail; if you want to succeed you have to practice, practice, practice; don’t be afraid to yada, yada, yada. Yes, those are all valid lessons you can take from his bikes.
What I tell my players when I talk to them about Dylan’s bikes is to remember that we are playing a game. And the main reason to play a game is to have fun. If you can’t have fun doing it, why keep doing it? The main reason Dylan wants to bury a bike is that it is *fun* to try. It is *fun* to do so. He finds *fun* in the attempt and always gets up with a smile on his face after he tries one. I tell my players never to forget to find the *fun* in playing. I tell them, if they start to lose the sense of *fun* to come talk to me and let’s try to make some changes to find the *fun* again.
Life is too short not to have fun living it. I find the fun in almost everything I do. I have lost more than one girlfriend over that attitude. There is more to it than my refusal to leave “Neverland.” I am a responsible adult, I have raised three boys mostly on my own. While they have their issues and their problems, we all do. But one thing I am very proud of is that my boys know how to have fun. They are not afraid to howl at the moon and they not afraid to find the fun.
So, to all my players…to all my friends…to anyone anywhere that will listen…Bike it!