MY UNBEATABLE RIVAL

Friendships I believe are important not only because the can teach you things but also because some of them can help you discover qualities that not even you might have known you had. I have personally made great friendships, some lasted more than others for different reasons but I learned with each of them. There has been in fact one friendship that particularly struck me the most but perhaps its because soccer got in the middle of it, for those kind of familiar with the blog when is something not related to it right? I would like to offer a disclaimer before I begin. The first one is that for privacy issues I will use a different name when I refer to this friend and second in case I wasn’t clear before, ALL THE FRIENDS IVE MADE ARE IMPORTANT! With that being said lets move on.

It all began like any of my many of my young friendships began, wondering why I was so different and if that sane difference would be a bad thing or not. His name was Peter a guy four years older than me, someone who will no doubt be one good friend but also one of my biggest rivals. The first time we played against each other was a friendly type of game, nothing serious it was all fun and games but to be honest at the time I thought that was the potential he had. The truth behind it all was that I was used to a soft style of soccer, one were honestly I was untouchable and looking back at it I’m glad it was that way otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to adapt to the “real soccer” as I call it. He introduced me to the “real soccer” at practice drills he came up with whenever we would hang out after school, I must say those drills wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t make me realize that my ability was limited and that the role I would have on the field would depend on who I was playing against and how good my teammates were, after all he did beat me without the need of any dribbling so that for me was a necessary but low hit on my confidence. Peter was responsible for giving me back some old skills as a goalie; most of his training was harsh, filled with strong shots towards my goal. The strength was such that before I knew it I was able to built most of my upper body strength without me knowing it so I thank him for that.

The moment of truth arrived a summer night. It wasn’t just any night since it was on a Saturday, which meant that people would be hanging out in his backyard playing volleyball games but little did I know they would be the ones I would be playing against. The game was terrible because we lost the game, but worst of all I wasn’t able to bock a single shot they threw at me. It wasn’t until years later that Peter told me that it was the purpose of the game for me to be defeated that night so that I would learn to improve but most importantly learn how to lose. The games on Saturday nights continued for about 8 more years, looking at it closely that sounds like a lot of time but for me time flew by too quickly. During those years Peter would become a rival that sometimes I simply couldn’t beat and honestly it was hard for me to accept defeat knowing that I knew all of his techniques.

It was only a matter of time until we were able to play against each other equally. We had played together for 6 years at that point so it wasn’t easy to score goals whenever I was on goalkeeper duty. The time came to explore other areas on the soccer field so I chose the midfield. The reason for my choice was due to the fact that I realized I was able to pass the ball with or without pressure. If you ask me why I didn’t try the striker or defense position you must know I did but the problem was that with defense I stayed too close to the goal and I rather play as goalie if that was the case. The striker position worked once in a while but in that position you need to be critical and honestly I wasn’t.

The last few years became a period of reflection when it came to my involvement in soccer. Peter and I were not teenagers at this point so we drifted apart due to the age difference that we had since the beginning. He started a family so that meant I had to continue on my own and to be honest it was a good thing we parted ways since we viewed things differently, specially when he was a die hard Real Madrid fan and I was a Barcelona fan. We still speak from time to time until this day and whatever the circumstance is we always speak about our long and memorable soccer battles, good memories honestly. The lessons he taught me weather it was in a good way or a bad will always remain in my memory because not only did he gave me more soccer knowledge but he gave me confidence to face my fears outside of the soccer field, thank you Peter you are the real MVP.

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