The World Cup in Brazil commenced last week Friday (12th June) and will run through to Sunday (13th July). It has been a terrific time of football thus far with teams upsetting some big teams and our own Super Eagles of Nigeria making us proud thus far. While watching some of the matches, I discovered these life lessons that football teach us. The first five were discussed last time (READ HERE). For the purpose of this article, we will be looking at the next five.
6. Block your fears: When I was in JSS2, my class goalkeeper left the school so we needed to replace him because we had a football match coming up. I was the tallest in class so I decided to try out for the position. From that day till my SS2, I moved from JSS2’s goalkeeper to JSS3’s goalkeeper to Junior school’s goalkeeper and then to the ultimate; the school’s goalkeeper. The most important lesson I learnt as a goalkeeper is to make sure the ball doesn’t get to the back of the your net at all costs whether you use your hands, your leg, your stomach, your head, even your face, just don’t let the opponent score a goal.
In life, your opponent is your fears, the people that don’t believe in you, the people that said you will not amount to anything, circumstances, your bad result in school, your past bad experiences. You are the keeper of your heart and your mission is to make sure negativity, fears, past mistakes don’t get pass you in the net (your heart and mind). Be a goal keeper and keep away negativity.
7. Make changes: When a football match is going on there are 11 players on each team. These players are instructed by the coach of the team to play according to a formation which could be 4-4-2, 4-3-2-1, 4-5-1 etc. This formation determines how the team set ups, how they attack and how they defend. This formation is strictly adhered to by each player on the team until the coach decides to change it. On the bench are substitutes who are brought on to the pitch during a match in exchange for an existing player. Substitutions are generally made to replace a player who has become tired or injured, or who is not performing well; or for tactical reasons.
We have tactics that we use in the fulfillment of our dreams. If one tactics is not working, change it. Sometimes we make changes out of external influence, peer pressure, “following the crowd” or fear. Before we change our tactics we need to ask the creator of the Universe (God). With His advice, you can never go wrong. Substitutes on the other hand are friends. Friendship they say is not by force but by choice. Friendship should add to you and not remove from you or even leave you the same way. If you have friends that only draw from your resources (mental, financial, emotional, physical and financial) and not adding to you then its time you make new friends. Remember, friendship is not by force. Make substitutions when someone is not helping you fulfill your dreams.
8. Only goals matter: There are various statistics collated during a football match including; possession, shots on target, shots off target, shots blocked, saves made, corners taken, yellow cards, red cards etc but ultimately the most important of the statistics is goals scored. No matter how much possession a team has or chances created, if they don’t out score the other team then they would lose the match.
In life, your goals (dreams) are all that matters. The amount of times you tried and failed doesn’t count for anything, the amount of times you missed the target doesn’t matter, the amount of times you were looked down on doesn’t matter, how old you are doesn’t matter, how emotional you are doesn’t matter. All that matters at the end of the day is; did you score enough goals to win the match i.e Did you score enough goals to achieve your dreams. Please be focused on achieving the goals on your way to your dreams.
9. Delay is dangerous: Let me paint this picture in your mind. Let’s imagine a footballer on the pitch with the ball, he keeps the ball, dribbles past all the players, dribbles even the goalkeeper and is faced with the post to score the goal but instead of shooting the ball, he begins to think, analyze, strategize and evaluate and then the opponent gets back and takes the ball from him.
This is exactly what most people do in life, we analyze too much and take action few times. Analysis they say leads to paralysis. Plan and run with the plan. Don’t waste time planning, planning and planning without taking action. Delay is dangerous.
10. Celebrate your triumphs: I remember playing as a striker for my class team against another class in the University. The game was 0-0 and then I scored. That feeling when you score a goal, not even sex can give you that feeling. Its a feeling of greatness, a feeling like you are on top of the World, a feeling like you are the boss. I ran across the field, danced at the corner while my teammates rushed and hugged me. Mehn, I miss that feeling. Have you seen footballers celebrate their goals? Some celebrate by taking off their shirts (e.g Ronaldo and Balotelli), others summersault (e.g Obafemi Martins), while others run and shake the coach (e.g Robin Van Persie against Spain). There is no better feeling on the field of play than scoring a goal.
When we score goals in life, when we accomplish set targets, when we make things happen, when we surprise ourselves, when we get promoted, when we win a contract, when we get a job, when we pass an exam please endevour to celebrate. Life is too short to take it too serious. Be free, don’t be rigid. Enjoy life, don’t let life enjoy you.
Continuation: 20 Life Lessons Football Teaches Us (Part 3 of 4)