Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Truth about Professionalism

I am just going to put it out there so that there is no beating around the bush, no awkward "can we ask her?"'s, and no "I feel sorry for her"'s.... I did not make the Essen team in Germany. But that is ok. Unfortunately the harsh reality of professional sports is that not every team is right for you and you are not right for every team. As an athlete you never want to hear those dreaded words that come from all coaches at one time or another, "sorry, we do not want to sign you", or how ever they turn you away. I have been around this sport enough now to know that a competitive spirit is crucial to being successful  and with that competitive spirit of course comes an overdeveloped pride. And when that pride takes a hit it never feels good. But having said, that I am doing ok and looking for my next opportunity to play. And in the mean time I am staying with one of my best friends, who is also playing in Germany, Elli Reed.

The week started off on a good foot, aside from the fact that the airlines lost my baggage and I only had a few pairs of undies and socks to get me through. I stayed with the American girl who has played on Essen for over two years. She was extremely kind and really took care of me. Her name was Kat and for the week it was me, Kat, her husband and their cat, Oscar. Kat was the blonde twin of my college roommate Halley. When I walked out of the airport (bag-less) and met Kat I instantly felt like I was in the presence of Halley. And when I walked into their apartment I felt like I had walked back in time to my dorm room in Corrado when Halley and Logan were there. That actually brought me a lot of comfort. Just like Halley, Kat had an infatuation with animals, but most obsessively with their cat, Oscar. Oscar was crazy and was more like a dog than a cat. He fetched, liked to wrestle, and didnt do anything cat-like. Seeing as I am more of a dog person than a cat person, I liked him.

We had training the night I got in. We did some shooting and crossing and finishing, my personal favorite. I did well, scored a lot of goals and had a lot of fun. The coach seemed to like me and I got good feed back. I slept hard that night as the time difference started setting in. Over the last two months I have been in 10 of the 12 time zones between the west coast of the US and Russia. And as many of you know I hardly ever sleep past 9 AM... I was sleeping until 11 AM almost every day this week. Anyways, because we didnt have anything most days until the evening it was no problem to catch up on my sleep that late. We had a few more trainings. We did strength and conditioning one practice, some 1 v 1 and 2 v 2 drills, some three team games and other drills like that. Overall, I did well. The coach seemed to like me and gave me a lot of positive feedback, as well as made comments about a contract. But it seemed it was not meant to be.

He wanted to wait to sign a contract until he saw me play in a full game on Sunday against a boys team. So, come Sunday, I was over a little head cold I had contracted over the week and over my sleeping in mornings. We awoke to a nice dose of rain, some of my favorite weather to play in. I played only the second half of the game and I apparently didnt do what the coach was looking for. I actually didnt feel like I did much of anything, except run around to show that I worked hard. But when your playing boys who are bigger, faster and stronger than you and your team, it is hard to do much of anything except run around. After the game the coach pulled me aside and told me those words that no one likes to hear. I was a bit surprised but I also knew that after that game I couldnt expect much more. I shook his hand and said thank you for the opportunity. If nothing else I was exposed to the training of one of the best teams in one of the best women's leagues in the world. I know now that I am at their level of play and can be dropped in with them and be fine.

If a film crew were following me through this journey it would make for some funny scenes. After you hear news like that it is so awkward going back into the locker room or being around the team again. After a week of training I was just starting to make some friends and people who liked me and liked the way I played. So after the news and the game, I was sad and wanted to cry, I was angry and wanted to yell, but I also didnt want to let the team and my new "friends" see that, so then I had to try to hide it and pretend like it was all ok. Plus we had to shower after... and we all know the scenes in Hollywood movies where the protagonist has the break down in the shower (maybe its the running water that makes it easy to let your emotions out) but lets just say I had to try really hard to make it through the shower without having a break down. I got dressed as quickly as possible and went and sat outside to get some fresh air and calm myself before any of the girls said anything about it. In retrospect it was kind of funny because its not often that people have to try that hard to control their emotions, and in the moment you think your doing a good job of hiding it, but in reality its probably so obvious that you are a gaping pin head space away from having a complete melt down.

Then comes the awkward calls home. After a week of positive conversations and feedback and everyone waiting for the good news those calls were not fun to make. "SOOOOOOOO, I didnt make it..." "haha, noooo. thats funny, what did her REALLY say?" "No really, I didnt make it..." "wait, are you serious?" "Ya." "Oooooohh..." Something like that... again, at the time, those are not funny, but in retrospect they are a little funny because you are catching everyone off guard. BUT, again I have learned some very valuable lessons that I dont think can be learned unless they are experienced first hand.

Everyone faces rejection, defeat, loss or something along those lines at one point in their lives. The truth is that you can not win them all. And as cliche and corny those inspirational quotes are, they are all true. I personally choose to live my life with an attitude of "onwards and upwards". So I have accepted this failure and rejection and am now looking to do better at my next opportunity, when ever it comes. I am prepared for it and will make the most of it. And if it does not come, then I can not look back with regret because I did everything I could. I worked hard, I trained hard, I stayed focused, I took every opportunity that came up and I did my best. If it was not good enough then so be it... but I cant say I didnt make it because I gave up. And now after the funny awkward moments are over and I sit here at Elli's (because she is the best friend I could ever ask for and has been so helpful and welcoming), I wait patiently for the next opportunity to come up. I hope to know where my next move will be within the next few days and will keep you all posted on it. In the mean time keep your fingers crossed that something comes up soon so that I didnt just blow a lot of money on a flight here to walk back into my college dorm room and live on Elli's couch for a week, ha!

I love you all and thank you all for your support. It means more than I can express.




  1. I am so proud of you. What an experience and to be able to go onwards and upwards. Your words are powerful and carry a truthful message....one that I needed to hear today. Your perspective and attitude are so inspring. I am sorry it didn't work out in Germany...but God has a different agenda for ya:) love you so so so much! Hugs and love to u!!!!

  2. Sometimes things were just not meant to be. I have full faith in you, Dani, and I know the right team will find you. Your fans will continue to follow you wherever you go and will welcome you every time you come "home."
    Give Elli a big hug from this Pilot fan and go after the next opportunity like a 1 on 1 with the keeper. ♥ ♥