Chapter 41: YOUR FRIENDS WILL LIE TO YOU – ROOKIE: Surviving Your Freshman Year of College Soccer
When you start campaigning to your teammates and friends about the playing time you should be getting, you’re going to find a lot of people who agree with you. You’re going to say that you don’t understand why the coach can’t see that you are so much better than Alex; and your friends will say, “Oh I know! You are totally better than she is!”
And guess what… they’re lying to you. Why? Mainly because they love you and they want to support you. And also because no one wants to be the one who tells you that Alex is actually better than you. It takes a lot of courage to look you in the eye and tell you that the coach is actually right, and not a lot of people have that much courage in their tank.
Incidentally, if you start campaigning, remember that you are putting your friends into a very awkward position. By supporting you, they are betraying another teammate, and no matter what they say to your face, they won’t enjoy being cornered like that. A player who takes her playing time campaign to her teammates will quickly become a major annoyance to those teammates.
Your teammates are all fighting their own battles. You can’t expect them to passionately take up your cause as well. They want to play and they want to win and they want their team to get along. That’s about the extent of it. Your battle is ultimately yours to fight and fight alone.
If you find yourself in this situation, it may be worth asking yourself why everyone is on your side except the coach. Is it actually that the coach is blind? Or is there just a small chance that maybe your friends are taking your side because it’s the easiest way to keep the peace?
Look, it’s difficult when you’re not getting the playing time you think you deserve. Believe me, I know. But regardless of how badly it hurts, you’ve got to manage your pain with dignity. You’ve got to find a way to put the team first and stay loyal to the mission. You’re all grown up now. By now you should know that life isn’t always fair and that it doesn’t always work out the way you would like. Even in the most difficult times, you’ve got to find a way to rise above your personal grief and present your best self.
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