The following piece has been published anonymously as requested by the author
Getting cut from a club roster hurts. Club players around the country, both adult and youth, have been finding out for the past few weeks that they didn’t make the team they wanted to be a part of. Many poured countless hours in the off season to improving their game, trying to build on feedback they received after last year’s process. A few had hopes of joining a title-contending team, while others were just following their college captain’s directions to play club this summer.
Regardless of the circumstances, each of these players faces a crossroads. Do they try out for a lower tier team, jump to a different division, or give up on this season and stick to playing league and pickup? To determine the best path forward, each must self-reflect and consider why they are desperately trying to play club. Is it for the fame and prestige that deep down we all so desperately crave? Is it for the joy of playing one of the best sports humans have invented? Is it for their teammates; the other men and/or women who have sacrificed their time, money, and bodies to achieve something together? Understanding one’s own desires is critical, but being able to see clearly through the pain of being rejected, whether for the first or umpteenth time is difficult, because as everybody knows, “a broken heart is blind.” Taking some time to absorb the hit and then rebound before making a decision is a sound strategy and allows for more level-headed thinking in the long run.
As both a coach and player I have been on both sides of this process. I have been cut from two different teams a combined total of six times and I have cut dozens of talented players from good teams. Every time I was cut angry and frustrated with having been rejected, and I know that the players I left off our roster felt similarly. Every time I was cut I picked myself off the mat and give everything I had the next year. I believe that it is not our failures that define us, but rather how we respond. There have been many times that I have questioned whether or not I wanted to go through another winter of lifting followed by track workouts in the spring. Every time I feel like quitting I fall back on the core reasons of why I am willing to sacrifice my time and body. I love competing on a team, forming strong bonds through sweat and blood. I love playing this sport that allows a former offensive tackle to throw and catch. I admit that yes, I do want fame and prestige that comes with being on the best team in the state. All of these things drive me to go back to work with a passion and fervor that is only known to those who have repeatedly failed. I can’t control the things that have happened in the past so I push forward into the future with a simple message for the players on the team I didn’t make: enjoy this season while it lasts, because I am coming for your spot next year.