I feel like I need to introduce myself again, it’s been that long. So, first I should apologize for staying away so long. I have had plenty to tell you, but never the inspiration.
There have been numerous other attempts to start blogging again; posts with titles such as “Square One” and “The Return”. However, they never really got past the introduction phase. In recent weeks, though, I have been on a quest to resurrect my creative writing urges. Where did they go? I’m not really sure, but I’d like to think they are there somewhere. So, in writing this post, I’m really just playing hide and seek with my inner author.
The first thing I had to do was commit to staying off of other sites while I write this post. I was going to go down to the local coffee shop with no wifi, so I wouldn’t even be tempted, but I’m weak, so I’m at the one that has wifi because I have a loyalty card here and God forbid I have to get 10 coffees before I get my free one as opposed to the usual 9.
Anyway, I really am going to have to push through this first post. I won’t be able to go into much detail because I’ve done quite a bit, but I will try to give you a good update of where I am and hopefully reignite my writing bug for the future.
It’s hard to admit, but if I really look at it, I think I haven’t been writing because of my own perceived failures. I haven’t really been achieving the success or consistency I had hoped to upon my return to the UK, which was back in July. In preseason I was all over; training with 4 different teams and ultimately living in 4 different places.
I won’t bore you with details, but it has landed my in Southern England about an hour west of London in a little town called Newbury. I moved here to play with an ambitious team called Hungerford Town. I came down during preseason and did well in training and a few practice games (including a great goal in one – if I may say so myself). I was looking forward to the new start after the lack of opportunity and progress I made at Guiseley last year.
Unfortunately, things haven’t quite gone as planned on a personal level. First of all, it took a number of weeks for me to get my international clearance (because I had played in an American League over the summer). Then once it came through and I was eligible to play, Hungerford immediately started a turn around from a dreadful start to the season and have won every league game since losing 4 out of their first 5. This made it hard for the manager to change too many things in regards to personnel and tactics.
Since I wasn’t playing as much as I would have liked, I spoke with the Manager about the possibility of going out on loan for a short period with any other local team to maintain fitness and sharpness. He immediately helped set me up with another team in the division below called Thatcham Town FC. I played a game a few days later, which was great…except we lost. We managed to lose the next two games as well, which was painful and not the biggest confidence boost. However, I was getting good and fit and starting to improve, and playing is always better than not playing.
Timing, however, was not the best, because, due to scheduling changes we only had 3 games in a period where we could have had up to 5 or 6. To add to that, the poor run in form meant that the manager of Thatcham Town, quite a friendly bloke, was shown the door. Meaning, I don’t know where I stand with the changes at hand and I will probably be going back to Hungerford, without any guarantee of time, despite the work I put in.
So many great and wonderful stories in life have a “right place at the right time” element – mine seems to have a persistent “wrong place at the wrong time” theme.
Deep down, I find myself fighting my own self-pity. What gives? I ask myself. Of course, this is really pathetic, and when I really think about it, I’m embarrassed at the very thought of pitying myself. I’m blessed beyond what I deserve. I know that, but I’ll still find excuses and injustices against me like Sherlock finds the crook. It’s a special gift.
All that moaning and complaining has, thankfully, led me to an improved outlook. As so often happens, this change came about originally from the unlikeliest of sources. An English player named Joey Barton, who is quite an entertaining, but also controversial character over here, was in an interview and mentioned the importance of the process. He was talking about developing players and he said something in the vein of “no one appreciates the process anymore”.
Essentially meaning that we all just want the outcome. For footballers that’s making a good living as a professional for a big club team, or for your country and making plenty of money. However, no one wants to think about putting the work in every day behind the scenes; there is a lack of appreciation for the blood, sweat and tears that no one sees.
This made me think about things and a few days later, I was talking with my sister, Clare, and Barton’s comment tied in with our conversation, so I brought it up. Clare and I chatted about it and I suddenly came to this realization that the story is always in the process; never in the outcome.
So, here I was, not blogging because I wanted to blog about the big outcomes! I wanted to blog about the great step I was making here or there. I wanted to blog about achievements. That is probably precisely why I haven’t been inspired to blog. There is no story in the outcome. The story is in the process.
I’d like to think that I’ve always appreciated the process of anything. I’m never afraid to put in the work and I will always continue to do so. Yet, I never realized until recently that there is no story in the achievement itself. The achievements are what we put on a resume and that’s why they are only a few pages of lists. Stories lie in creating that achievement and that’s what we find in the intricacies of a journey well told.
I recently read a book called “A Long Way Gone“, about a young man who had been a boy soldier in the Sierra Leone Civil War. He survived this ordeal and eventually made his way to the USA where he has recovered and now works to fight worldwide injustice. In a nutshell, that last sentence was his achievement so far, but it’s not the story itself. That lies within the pages of the book and in the depths of his heart and soul.
Having said that, the process of the last 5 or 6 months has plenty to say for itself. I’ve been all over the place, I’ve got to explore a new part of England, including the ever intriguing city of London. I’ve even managed to get home once for a wedding, which was an incredible blessing for me. I haven’t even had the chance to blog about my incredible mission trip to St. Lucia, all the way back in May.
I’ll save all that and more for another day in the process of pursing my dream one mistake at a time.
Until them enjoy the process of life!