Don’t Try Avoiding the Fall, Just Get Back Up

Why do we give up playing the sports we love, or even the things we love to do in general? I tried to address this issue once before and came up with several reasons for why people abandon the things they love to do. Sometimes it’s because of a loss of interest, sometimes it’s because we just don’t have the time anymore.
But there was one thing that I forgot to bring up, a reason that causes many to quit the sports they love: not being able to get back up after falling.
Now the term ‘falling’ in this case could have one of two meanings. You can either take the literal meaning, or you could look deeper and try to understand it at an emotional level. Falling could be represented every time some athlete trips over his own feet or falls off a surf board, or it could be during the times when you’re on a breakaway and at the last second you hesitate and take a wide shot, costing your team the game.
Each situation is trying in its own way, even if one results in physical trauma while the other is more of a mental one. However, both have effects that can be long-asting and even enough to stop someone from pursuing what makes them happy.
Falling isn’t something you can avoid; sooner or later you will experience it. However, the fact that you fall isn’t what you need to focus on. Instead, you need to realize that after you fall you need to get back up.
Take Lance Armstrong for example. This one man has won the Tour de France six times in his lifetime. Now, he is good at what he does, but being good wasn’t the only thing he was known for through his campaign. During his career, Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer, specifically lung cancer that generated into brain and testicular cancer as well. To me, that would be his fall, and it would be a hard one to recover from. Yet Armstrong got back on his bike and won the tournament time and time again.
Now if Armstrong can recover from something like that, which undoubtedly had both a physical and a mental toll, why do others struggle so much to get back up on the horse, or strap those skates back on?
I have given you an example of someone who bounced back, but what about someone who has trouble doing so? How about someone like me? I’ve played my fair share of sports, ranging from common ones like baseball and soccer to not-so-common ones like cricket.
Despite changing my cup of tea each week, accidents tend to still happen. This isn’t uncommon; I mean, sometimes things just go wrong, but in my little world I tend to be the cause of injuries instead of being the one injured. If you were to just look at the weekly soccer game I play, you’d be amazed at the amount of injuries I’ve caused, but my ability to avoid pain and instead inflict it is something I’ll leave for another day.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that I never get hurt. Take my freshman year, for example, when I received a slight concussion from a head-on collision with my roommate (no pun intended). Sure, he gets to say that he walked away from it scratch-free, but I was the one getting everyone’s sympathy, so it wasn’t as bad as it might sound.
Usually when I get hurt I don’t mind much. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been hurt bad enough to actually ‘fall.’ However, I do feel discouraged from continuing my athletic pursuits when I cause injuries, especially when I inflict those injuries on my close friends or family.
While talking about the things I’ve done, one specific moment keeps coming back to mind. It was way back when I was still in second grade and my cousin and aunt had come to visit us from England. Luckily, I had escaped my cousin’s persistent requests to play cricket, which is pretty impressive, since that game is his life. I know, you’re probably asking how that could be true, but just remember that he’s British, so you can expect some weird things.
Instead of playing his game we played mine: hockey. Now, we didn’t have much room to play since we were confined to my garage. So with me being me, I took a slap shot and hit him in the face with the puck. Luckily it was one of those plastic pucks, but it still hurt. Apparently, giving your cousin a black eye is enough to push a hockey fan away from playing the game for a very long time.
I’m not the one you should look to about getting back up. Instead look to people like Lance Armstrong, who actually have something terrible to overcome and successfully do it. Maybe if we all had that much courage, people wouldn’t give up at all.