Josiah struggled to get himself out of the water today. An advanced swimmer who stands taller than most of his 8th grade peers, he sluggishly pulled his upper body up from the pool’s concrete edge, wincing and groaning from a task that was rather easy just the day before. Noticing Josiah’s unusually slow behavior, Dustin, YDA’s very own swim coach, inquired.
“It’s cause of football practice,” Josiah explained. “My body is so sore, especially my shoulders.”
Josiah and Dustin continued to converse. Eventually, Dustin learned that Josiah takes football practice very seriously because at the young, ripe age of thirteen, Josiah dreams to be a professional NFL player.
Soreness, however, is a very familiar feeling for Dustin, who swam all throughout high school and competed in several C.I.F. swim events. Understanding the hardships of being an athlete, Dustin shared some of his wisdom with Josiah.
“Just tell yourself two things, my friend. You love it, and you need it,”
Josiah looked confused. “Huh?” he asked.
“Yeah, you gotta tell yourself that you love being sore and you need to be sore. That’s the only way you know you’re getting better,” Dustin said.
As I stalkerishly watched this interaction from afar, I could tell that Josiah was intrigued. I had talked to Josiah about his NFL dreams many times. In fact, Josiah wouldn’t really call it a dream – he calls it his future. Determined to have an all-around healthy lifestyle, he even explained to me that he doesn’t ever plan to go near drugs or alcohol because it could ruin his body and his future career.
YDA is filled with future NFL players, doctors, engineers, teachers, entertainers, and much more. I’m thrilled to be a part of a camp that not only keeps them active during the summer months, but also gives them a greater perspective for their bright futures. Our time with them may only be within a short one-month span, but the impact we make with our words and wisdom can hopefully reverberate as they make crucial decisions that lead up to their goals.
So as Dustin explained, Josiah nodded. Not the kind of rolling-of-the-eyes nod that kids sometimes give while being lectured; but a genuine, slow nod with a small grin on his face. Josiah was enlightened. The light bulb went off in his head – no pain, no gain.