Get off the sidelines

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 

In my youth, I played football for many years, but in ninth grade, I found myself standing most of the time on the sideline. I wasn’t the only kid, but I wasn’t happy about it and became discouraged.

Now, I didn’t fault my coach too much because, at that time, I was definitely not one of the bigger skilled players.

Right then I recognized, when it comes to team sports, coaches make every decision of players, plays and strategies. It’s a game of chess hoping to outsmart the opponent’s coach.

The most frustrating part of hardly ever playing was realizing that I had no control of it. As a player, you can only hope that all your efforts in practice would give you an opportunity.

Whenever our team would win, everyone was celebrating and cheering. Not me. I was embarrassed and ashamed, as I stood there in my clean uniform.

The lesson learned was that if I wanted to play the whole game and dictate the outcome, then I needed to pursue individual sports.

Once I was out of high school, I taught myself to surf, ran a marathon, became a triathlete and competed in martial arts.

Not only in sports, if I wanted to dictate my life, then I needed to pursue happiness and success to live the life I wanted.

Yes, I got knocked down, had stitches, broken bones and multiple surgeries to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But, that only excited me because I knew I was giving my all, and the lessons of failure are only part of the process.

So, what about you? Are you standing on the sidelines of life? Are you just flying under the radar hoping to one day retire? Why have you given up?

As adults, you shouldn’t be happy with a participation trophy.

That lesson in ninth grade was a defining moment and taught me to never want to be on the sidelines again.

Now get up and recognize there’s a lot of life to live. We are fortunate to live in a country where it is possible to not only chase dreams, but to accomplish them.

One day we will all cross the pearly gates of heaven. If you walk in unscathed without scars, then you didn’t give life your best.

I plan on tumbling and sliding into heaven head first like Pete Rose. I’ll jump up and yell, “Wow, that was a crazy ride!”

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