In my secondary school, every second term, the school’s games department organizes inter-class football competition. My own class, SS2B, had 27 boys and 3 girls (don’t ask me how). Since only 11 boys make up a football team at a time, I wasn’t exactly eyeing a spot on the team, and there were 20-something other guys in the class who could kick the ball better than me. But I still wanted part of the action, I always do.
With the opening game approaching, I noticed that while the twenty-something boys were looking to make the team, no one noticed that the team needed a coach, so I proclaimed myself the coach. Of course they laughed it off, I didn’t know enough soccer to make the team, who was I then to dictate the chosen 11? Besides, who even takes me seriously? In the spirit of the joke, I started drawing up formations and passing them around. Each one was criticized and tossed aside, but I kept drawing up more.
On the day of the opening game, we were up against our noisy rivals and classmates, SS2A. The twenty-something hopeful boys showed up on the field wearing the jersey our class had agreed on. Five minutes to kick-off, there were still about 12 people on the pitch instead of the required 11. Somehow, the rest had come to accept that they couldn’t start.
Then something amazing happened, all 12 of them plus the rest that had backed out, somewhere around 50 eyeballs turned to YOURS TRULY to pick the team. It was as though the world stopped, I couldn’t believe it. These guys didn’t take me seriously. They rubbished my formations, now they want me to pick the team?
Looking back now, I think they pushed it to me because no one wanted to be the one to tell someone else that he wasn’t going to be playing, that is the unfortunate job of a coach. So quickly, I just pointed at the smallest guy there and asked him to come off the pitch. Coach had spoken!
We lost that game 2-1. Through the rest of the competition, my formations were mostly popular opinion. We kept pushing on like that, winning every other game till we got to the finals. We met the same SS2A but we beat them to the trophy. I got a medal that day and till this day, I still take credit for leading the team to the inter-class victory (Keshi takes credit for the Nation’s cup too, doesn’t he) and my classmates still laugh at the thought of me being Coach.
Life doesn’t hand anything to you. Sometimes you just need to step up and claim things for yourself; responsibilities, opportunities, victories and accompanying glories. According to this article by James Clear,Chosen Ones mostly choose themselves. Even when people seem to be divinely appointed for a moment, or opportunity seems to just pull over, you still choose to step in and take the ride.
We spend most of our lives being appointed responsibilities and being told what to do and when to do it. Boarding school bells told us when to wake up, the timetable told us which classes to attend, the boss tells us how much salary to take home and when to be promoted. But the things that really matter, like defining your identity, you alone have responsibility for that and stop waiting for permission.
Half the time, people who step up don’t feel like it, they don’t even know the first thing about it. But it’s not about what you know or how you feel, it’s all about what you want and how badly you want it? So, in the words of Steve Harris, #ChaseYourGreatness
Credits: OBI IK.