A recent stop over at The Life of a Skinny Runner got me thinking about my soccer "career" and what it could have been. Let me paint you a little picture...
I loved soccer. I mean it. I loved it like you love your first dog or your first "real" girlfriend. I LOVED it. I played all year round from the time I was 5 years old all the way through high school (and a couple years in college until the drinking got in the way). I would go on "runs" where I ran for like 40-50 minutes straight on roads with a ball at my feet. I would juggle a ball for hours on end. I would do everything in my power to be the best darn soccer player out there. Actually, scratch that, it wasn't even about being good. I just loved to do it and it naturally made me better.
But, all that said, I never grasped the amount of fitness it took to become a better soccer player. To make matters worse... I tried on several occasions to get into "good shape" in the offseason and failed miserably. Why you might ask? Well, I thought I was just not a good runner. I thought it wasn't in the cards for me. So... I focused on the skill part of the game and got whatever fitness you get from being an active person. That was not enough.
In the end, I became a very skillful soccer player who couldn't run for very long (wah wah). That really sucks. I pin it on my coaches and my own inability to seek the right knowledge. I think that my coach in high school thought I was lazy (quite the contrary). I know it sounds stupid. But, I really didn't know what it took to get into shape.
Fast forward to today... I still love soccer. I have played outdoor over the summer once in the last 5 years and indoor a couple sessions over the winter. I'm really considering playing outdoor this summer. I'm kinda afraid though. Now that I've spent so much time getting into better shape, it's almost like the pieces are all coming together. Now, I don't think I'm going to be the best player on the field or anything. But, I do think it will be kinda bitter sweet. Over 10 years after I graduated from high school, I've finally figured out the running part. Now, I haven't had a ball at my feet enough to do anything with it.
In the end... there is only one way to find out what it will be like. I can't wait until summer league. Definitely something to look forward to. I'm gonna have to find some pickup games somewhere in the mean time though. I'm sure my touch is terribly rusty.