Four years old, my second day and tears are streaming down my face as I scream towards my mother, ‘Waaah! I do not want to go to school today or ever again. Waaah!’. I am wailing constantly, to the point I almost forget the reason for being upset in the first place. Then it happens, I am caught. I get my first introduction to Psychology 101. I have been expecting a simple ‘Why not?’ query from my mother but she is way too clever for me and bamboozles me with, ‘Don’t you like your friends anymore?’.
I experience my first ever quandary. My brain starts overreacting: If I answer yes, does my mother deliberately keep me from school as a lesson against wailing? If I answer no, do I have to drop all my friends and remain alone in school forever? I attempt my first psychological response, a non-specific, ‘Why?’.
Now that my mother has changed my stance from wailing to inquisitive, she follows up with a lesson. ‘Alan your friends have to come to school everyday, the only place to play will be at school, is playing with your friends worth learning the new stuff in class? If you would rather stay at home that is wonderful too, you can help me to clean your bedroom.’
Needless to say there is only one clear winning answer given by a 4 year old boy. To school I go.
Lesson learned – See the positives not the negatives.
‘You will never make the football team with two left feet’, Glen (my best school friend) took great pleasure in saying to me.
Why did I play? I had spent most of my time training as a high league runner and triathlete. Maybe he did have a valid point. I was probably never going to significantly improve. Glen added, ‘You have always been the last person to be chosen when the teams are selected’.
I know his points are not valid. Why?
Well, if I score a goal I feel wonderful and for a split second my friends forget about the obvious fact that I cannot play football. The rest act more excited and amazed when I score a goal, as opposed to when the striker scores (whose purpose it is to score). Crazy, but true. That is, of course, unless the striker strikes in the style of Pele himself, then my deeds are clearly surpassed and forgotten.
It is not that I want to be the centre of attention but I wish to go through my life (the only one I have) with my own clear view, being well and correctly informed, to make the right choices in MY life.
Glen has no idea, absolutely no understanding, how I feel towards football, in fact he will never get my motivation for playing. Glen has developed what can only be described as bad habit. He has the habit of always concentrating on the negative, not the positive. Other players do encourage me to keep playing, but I feel this is only for a comedy value. Who do I listen to?
In 35 years of playing football, I have scored 5 goals. That is not a typo, that is FIVE. Yes. In my own personal defence, I think of all the defenders in football, I look at their statistics and some really have less than 5. Am I a better player than them?
Wait, wait – take a pause, before I get attacked by several hundred footballers, the answer is No I am not better. I know the defender has a role, that role can prevent the defender from scoring goals. My role in football, I have been told, is to constantly run after the ball.
My point is this, I personally get more satisfaction and fitness from playing than not playing and every time I score I am on top of the world. To wait approximately every seven years for a goal, is that worth all my efforts?
Lesson learned – Trust and listen to oneself. Learn to weigh up what is and isn’t worthwhile. Younger, we rely on others to assist us, but whom to trust can be extremely difficult to determine.
Whatever choices are taken in life, these define you. Be consequent. Had I chosen to not go to school, breaking through difficult subjects/ times, realising I enjoy learning so much, where would I be now?
Had my friend persuaded me to quit football, would I have those amazing 5 goals or that additional sport, those friends, those laughs, those positive feelings in my life?
Everyday one has the choice. One can have many influences in life but, ultimately, it is YOU who knows what is truly wanted, choose wisely. Try not to let others be a negative in your life, try not to let the negative factors blur the positives. Make your choices, but please make them with the right feelings, motives and research. It is not going to be easy, but positivity attracts positivity.
Be the positive in your life.
by: Alan Houston Cree