Throughout my years of being an athlete I have had the opportunity to cross the paths of many who share the same passion I have for the game. For the most part, we all knew what we wanted to do professionally. This profession did not include your basic “9-5” job. Now, there is nothing wrong with a 9-5, but for us...well, for me...it did not fit the dream I had for my life. We all share the common interest of making it to the big show! The League. We train extremely hard day in and day out, to accomplish the goal of making it. Many of us are obsessed with the thought of this being our ultimate ticket out of our current situations. Whether that situation dealt with family, finances, or personal dilemmas- the league was going to solve it all. We also strive to impress and please those around us. It all seemed part of the territory of 'making it big.' As we embark on this difficult journey, we rarely think about our futures after becoming a superstar. This was the unknown future, which consequently, many of us were destined for. A blurry future that did not include the stardom, money, or success of the game. The future I’d like to title…”WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE BALL GOES FLAT!?”
So, lets fast forward. You have been training hard. Your mind, body, and soul is focused on the prize. Now it is time to show and prove. You walk into that arena, that field, the gym…and you go to work. You give the coaches and scouts your absolute best!! After hours, days, possibly even weeks of grueling sweat and pain…you walk away from it all and retreat to the comfort of your room where you wait. And wait. And wait. The phone finally rings…and you hear the most disappointing news ever. You have been cut. You thank the individual who called, hang up the phone, and you just stare into outer space. You may shed a few tears…but then it hits you: Now what?? Keep on training? Quit? Where do you go from here?
Now, I do encourage you to try, try, again. But once you’ve exhausted all your chances and resources, it is time to move on to the next chapter of life. This is what I like to call the TRANSITION STAGE. From being a star athlete to dealing with the real world. This is the time where you have to decide who you are going to be in the community. This is the struggle that many athletes face on a day-to-day basis. Whether you are current in your sport, or in the ladder part of your professional career- most of you have no clue to WHATS NEXT when the ball goes flat. This transition phase requires us athletes to start scrambling. Forcing us into different business ventures to try and find our place in this world. A lot of us may begin in all the wrong avenues, just because we are trying to find that one ‘niche’ that fulfills the void of our sport. Hopefully, you don’t stay in this phase for long...
The problem lies on how we go about finding that ‘niche’ or better referred to as: your CALLING. So, let’s say you are the struggling athlete, trying to find a way. Where do you begin? Now, I am not a preacher, but I’ve walked a long walk, and I wish I would have known the information I am about to share with you- a LONG time ago. To find where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing, in this world you must ask God for guidance. Ask HIM for your PURPOSE. What have you been called to do on this earth? Trust me when I say, HE WILL LEAD YOU DOWN THAT RIGHT PATH. For me, I was doing everything BUT my calling for a long time. These 'things' I was involved in, never seemed to go but so far. It started off good, but at some point- failure set it. I would get SO frustrated, because I could never understand why it would not work out. It was only when I turned my life over, and let God take the wheel, was I able to finally find fulfillment and success in my life. With those 'things' before, there was always something wrong about it. It either evoked unnecessary damaging situations, and other times the money was funny. Overall it did not do anything to help our society...our culture...or even my family, move forward in a positive manner. It was not what God would have approved of. But now, I got it right...and I know anyone else who may be in the same boat- can get it right too. Just ask HIM!
WHEN THAT BALL GOES FLAT…You must continue to utilize that same passion, hungry, and determination that you had when you were playing. The only difference, is now you are applying it to your life after sports. Your calling should be something that makes a difference in not only your life, but the lives of those around you. Have faith, and know that you were put on this earth for a GREATER PURPOSE than what the 'flesh' may present to you. I understand: the transition from athlete to real world can be scary. Don't be that athlete who never adjusts. Don’t be the athlete that lives off their legacy. Use those talents and gifts to take you to the next level of life!!
*Stay encouraged and motivated*