They say the first half-meter is in your head…
Since my childhood, I’ve loved the game of football (for my American readers, yes…I’ll be calling it that, not soccer). The style, the culture, the atmosphere – it all appealed to me. I played a lot as a youngster, joining my local club team as a teen. At that level, I was fairly successful and enjoyed every minute. Naturally, I thought that I’d play in high school, but I misjudged the situation. Here are the facts:
- Playing just for my local club left me with an inflated sense of how good I was.
- This inflated sense of talent led me to believe I could walk on to the tryouts without any serious training.
- As a result, I was unfit, inexperienced, and caught totally by surprise.
Add in the fact that St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts boasts one of the most competitive high school athletic programs in the state, and the result should be obvious: I did not make the team. Worse, I did nothing to fix the situation. I didn’t suddenly start working hard to get fit, or even training my weaknesses in the game. Frankly, I gave up.
Entering college, this started to change. I had been playing pickup football games as much as I could, joined an intramural league, and stayed in shape with other sports as well. Still, I had no plans to enter any serious training regime. Then, I heard about the football program at University College London, where I will be studying abroad next Spring. The club offers seven inter-varsity teams, each with a different level of play. With that knowledge, my passion for the sport reignited. With a program that provided opportunities to play for individuals from so many skill levels, maybe I could have a chance. I asked myself, “Why not put my talents to the test? Let’s see if I can play football for UCL.”
Of course, I want to be realistic about this process. I’m certainly only aiming to make the 6th or 7th team (especially considering that I would be a one-semester walk-on). Whether or not I make the team at all, however, the experience of trying will undoubtedly make me a better player and should provide some interesting stories as well.
This blog will record my attempt, giving you personal insight into my life for the next eight months. It will start with intense training this summer, some serious fine-tuning during the fall intramural season here at Boston College, and then the trial process when I get to London. Hopefully, after that, this blog will be about playing football in England. We’ll have to wait and see…
I had my last final exam yesterday, and start my summer job today. After work, I expect to be exhausted; however, there’s no time to think about that. This evening is my first training session of the summer. Wish me luck.