We see commitment as being virtuous, but is it really? Do good things really come to those who are committed, loyal, and devoted? Or is all of that just some bullshit we get taught as kids that really isn’t true?
This is a value I was brought up to believe. And it’s a value I took very seriously. Once I committed to something, that was the equivalent of giving my word. Whether that was with impeccable attendance for soccer trainings, or devoting my Saturday nights to studying instead of going out, one thing was definite – I was committed.
But where has that commitment gotten me? Have I achieved what I’ve wanted to achieve? Accomplished what I set out to accomplish? Or have I actually devoted my entire life to a virtue that doesn’t actually add any value to my life?
This reality, the reality that I have prioritised a value that has taken more than it has given me is what I’m currently confronting. My entire life I have prioritised soccer. I’ve given up friends’ parties, family dinners, holidays, concerts, just general life experiences all because I was committed to my sport. I never drank, never did drugs, invested in extra trainings, worked my ass off at trainings as well as in the gym, and where has that gotten me? I can tell you where it hasn’t gotten me, it hasn’t gotten me to where I wanted to go. Instead, it’s left me bitter. Resentful. And regretful.
My brothers always told me to never put all of your eggs in one basket, yet I thought that advice was ludicrous. Because if you don’t invest everything you have, how will you know you gave it your best shot of making it? My sports psych in America always encouraged me to “be a kid” and do “what normal 20 year olds do” and I justified my decision not to by claiming I wouldn’t “enjoy it”. But that wasn’t really the reason. I didn’t know if I would enjoy it or not, because I never tried it. The real reason is that I wanted to show I was committed to my sport. I wanted to walk the walk. I wanted to be an example of what athletes should do. I wanted to be a role model for kids to look up to. Essentially, I wanted to be a pillar of righteousness. I wanted to believe that good character and good decisions were synonymous with one another. I was serious about looking after my body because I believed you had to in order to stay healthy. But where did that get me?
Here’s the truth. Committed people still get beaten. They still get overlooked. They still get injured. They still get cheated on. They still get fired. Committed people still lose. Just because you’re committed, it doesn’t mean jack shit. When you’re committed, when you’ve turned down opportunities your entire life, you start to feel like you’re owed something. You feel like that commitment should be acknowledged. Rewarded. Justified. But it won’t be. Because the truth is, no one really gives a shit if you’re committed or not. Coaches, bosses, teachers, partners, everyone will claim they want people who are committed, but they won’t actually care all that much if they’re not. So I ask you, what are you giving up to be committed? Is it worth the cost of your life?
Someone asked me recently, why do you want to make it so badly? And at first I gave my typical response – because I want to be in a position of influence. I believe I could be a really good role model and I want my blog to help people, I just need a platform to do so. I wanted to prove that you can come back from two acls and still play at the highest level. And my ego wanted the recognition. The perks of having a “name” – free medical bills. Access to facilities. Opportunities. And I wanted some return on the financial and significant time investments I’ve made throughout my life. But the real reason I want to make it? Because I want to justify every decision I’ve ever made to prioritise soccer. From turning down holidays, to not making bad decisions and gaining experiences. I wanted to say it has been all been worth it. But I’m being confronted with the reality that is hasn’t been worth it. That it’s all been a waste. I’m 26 years old and I feel like I haven’t really lived because I gave up experiences for the nobility of being committed. And I fucking regret that.
So I’m left with this resentment and bitterness. Towards friends, teammates, family, partners – anyone who’s decided to do what I never did. To choose experiences instead of commitment. To choose living instead of a sport. People always tell you, work hard and you can achieve anything. Hard work pays off. Commit to your dreams. Think, live, breathe whatever you want to achieve and it will come to you. But I’m here to tell you not to do that. Hard work will only get you so far. Committing to something won’t guarantee loyalty in return. Turning down opportunities to pursue a goal isn’t as virtuous as you’re made to believe. And it comes at a cost. And that cost could be your life.
So please, don’t make the same mistakes I did. Say yes to bad decisions. Say yes to holidays. Say yes to living. Choose life, not your righteousness. Because if you don’t, you might just end up becoming everything you wished you weren’t. Take it from me, I would know.