Life is about luck, effort, and communication.

When I look back at times in my life where I have felt meaning and purpose, or a big accomplishment – I think about lucky situations/environments, a massive effort/discipline and communication.

Rarely does anyone accomplish anything by themselves. Not to say we can’t extend discipline throughout our daily lives, but I’m emphasizing the positive impact of finding yourself on the right team to make the most of your contribution to a cause/effort.

I was on the state championship soccer team in high school. 2 years before we won the state title, I was a freshman trying out and the new head coach looked at me and five other girls and said bluntly, “You can ride the bench on varisty or be a hero on JV”. As a freshman especially, there is nothing condescending or improper about starting on a junior varsity team. However, I knew where I wanted to be and I knew enough about having been on the wrong club teams to know that even as a freshman, my teammates would have a direct impact on my success in the future. Without thinking twice, I selected to “ride the bench” on varsity. Those first few games were tough. I had never been benched in my life, but the talent on the varsity squad, and even from freshman players was astounding. I had never been on a team with so much promise. I knew I would have to improve quickly. I was the shortest player on the varsity squad, and as a budding cross country runner also the lightest. I worked alongside another player that had selected to ride the bench on varsity that year and we worked hard to make each other better. I would leave the team practices and go practice by myself at home. I have no idea why it meant so much to me. After the second game not getting a single minute of play, I started to cry. I knew my worth, even if the coach didn’t. I also knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere with self pity, I had to talk to the head coach and see what he thought. I gathered an overwhelming amount of courage that monday afternoon and walked into his classroom after morning classes let out for lunch. I know my voice was shaking, I held back tears but bravely asked what I could do to get more playing time at the games. He looked at me and simply said – score. A smile flashed across my face, there was hope. I knew what I had to do and he was agreeable to let me on the field for a few minutes to see what I could do. That first game he put me in with 10 minutes to go and I made it a point to put the ball in the back of the net. I was beaming and I looked at him from across the field. Approval swept across his face. The pattern kept repeating, I started to pass up juniors and seniors in the sub list until I became the first sub in. Not a starter but I would get more and more playing time. I didn’t always score admittedly, but I did score quite often. When you are surrounded by talented people, scoring off a well placed pass or a well crossed ball is not that difficult. Not to take away anything from the work I put into training outside of practice, but to acknowledge my part to play and what we were missing that first year, we needed a scorer. That’s who was going to get time on the field, it didn’t make me more or less important than anyone else out there – it just meant I asked what we needed, I got an answer and that role happened to be congruent with my position as a striker. A lot of life is luck, the rest is effort, very little is talent.

By the time soccer season started my sophomore year, I had earned the role of starting striker, we went on to win the 4A Texas UIL State Championship Title that year and it easily became one of the highlights of my adolescence. I learned something about myself, my team, and my coach. I knew that mindset would set me up for a positive path in life – a little luck and a continuous effort go a long way to achieving success.