Sometimes I just need a song to help me organize my thoughts. Because despite my best efforts, usually someone else can say it better than I can. In this case, Bastille – Pompeii – “but if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all… and if you close your eyes does it almost feel like you’ve been here before.”
This song fits well when we hang out with friends we haven’t seen in a long time, but pick up right where we left off.
Or if we have a feeling of déjà vu possibly, from a place or a smell or a sound.
This song came on while I was juggling the other day and though I continued to juggle I lost the moment for while. It was the feeling, mentally and physically, that when I’m juggling each day, it actually feels like nothing has changed at all. It feels like my body is in perfect condition and my mind is focused on every touch of the ball and the way it spins and the number that I’m counting in my head. Just like it’s supposed to.
When I juggled before my ACL thingy, I was pretty damn good. The ball didn’t get away from me often and if it did, I was quick enough on my feet to get after it.
When I juggle now, I have to be close to perfect, because if it gets too far, I can’t reach for it or dive for it, I just have to let it go. And that’s not a feeling I enjoy very much. It’s hard to just let something go. To not try for it. To watch it drop even though every ounce of your body wants to go for it. But alas, it drops and I have to start over again.
In between the drop and starting back up again, there’s some frustration. Sometimes I kick the ball really hard against the wall. Sometimes I just walk away and get a drink. Most of the time, I just grab the ball and start again.
Once it’s up again, it’s the same thoughts as before – like nothing has changed at all.
There are a lot of things I have to work on right now to get back on the field. I need to run with better form, do a single leg squat better, get stronger physically (and mentally) and learn, more than anything else, to trust my body again. For me, juggling is the one thing I feel like I have the most control over. It’s something I feel I’m getting better at each day and something I feel like I’m good at.
That’s been a tough pill to swallow. Not being good at things I used to be good at. The time it takes to reteach our bodies and minds is different for each task. Running is hard. Lunges are hard. Squats are hard. Jumping is hard.
Juggling isn’t hard. Juggling is me at five years old with a ball in my front yard. It’s me learning the game all over again. Setting juggling goals and beating them. Calling my mom and saying a number and just saying it over and over again until she knows what I’m talking about. Because that’s what my life was like when I was younger. I was obsessed with my juggling record. And now, I’m right back there again. Starting from what seems like scratch. Trying to build myself back up the only way I ever knew how… just the ball and me.
I used to think of soccer as an escape. When I played, I didn’t think about life and the little things that can make it difficult from day to day. I used to think I needed soccer to refocus and get out my frustration.
I didn’t really know where I went when I played though. Where did I escape to? I had no idea until recently. It takes me to my purest days, when soccer was all that mattered. I’m five years old again. I’m in my front yard juggling. If my eyes were actually closed when I played, I would have no idea where I was or who I was. I would just be playing soccer. Just like I always have. And just like I always will.
Until I’m back playing full, juggling is pretty freaking awesome. So is passing against the wall and dribbling and beating a 3-year-old in wall ball. As long as soccer, in any form, brings me back to my purest, I’ll always want to go there. I’ll always want what nothing else can give me: freedom.