It’s crazy to think I spent at least ten years of my early life playing and or watching football, and now I hardly ever think about it. I only pay enough attention to the sport to draft a halfway decent fantasy team, but that’s about it. There’s multiple reasons for this; some good, some bad—as with most things in life. It wasn’t always bad, (at least not in the beginning) but by the end I was ready to get the fuck out.
I started playing the game at a pretty young age, and for the life of me I can’t tell you why I even got into it. Maybe it had something to do with my older brother who played and I just thought it was something I should just do, too. Back then I would do anything to feel normal and fit in (I’ve come a long way since then in that regard).
Football did have a few benefits for me. Back when I was just a youngster, I was still quite big and overweight—perfect for a lineman. Even now I wouldn’t say I’m “in shape” per se, but I was able to lose a fair amount of weight due to football.
I also made lifelong friends playing the sport (it’s bound to happen after so many three-a-days). One thing I think I’ve developed is a good work ethic—which I attribute to my playing days. No matter how shitty the job, I always try to do my best, (at first at least) and I think I’ve gotten that from getting up super early to go to the gym or going for a run. Football also helped me learn to overcome adversity when it rears its ugly head.
Football was fun in the early years, but all that changed once I got to high school; it turned into something that I couldn’t wait to be done with. And as it became more like a job and less like something played for fun, I realized the rewards no longer outweighed the cons. I can’t help thinking about all the time I wasted on the game with no reward due to the stupidly of the coaches who had no idea what the hell they were doing.
Sometimes I think about all the different things I could’ve done with the time I pointlessly devoted to football, like working on my art, and it irritates me. Then again, I could’ve been out running around town and getting into trouble. At least that would’ve given me stories to use for my writing. But no, I spent my summers out on a field—straddling the line of either passing out or throwing up.
Now, you might be asking, what does any of this have to do with writing? Well, let me tell you, after having to deal with all of that bullshit, I feel like I could put up with anything: like rejection letters from publishers, bad reviews, or any other sort of negativity that may come my way.
I also try to take the work ethic I’ve gained from football and use it towards my writing—such as putting the extra work in so I can consistently improve. This might be the most important lesson I’ve learned from my experience in high school athletics: don’t spend so much time doing things you hate. Instead, take that time and use it towards your writing. Because time is the most valuable resource we have in this life. Once you use it up, it’s gone forever. So, be wise and use your time doing things you enjoy.
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