I played tons of organized sports growing up…baseball, soccer, basketball. I also played tons of street hockey and touch football. I would’ve loved to play organized hockey in a league but there weren’t many rinks to be found in NE Philly in the 70’s. And I would’ve loved to play football in a league, too, but I was scared, because I was small and weaker than others and was afraid of getting hurt. So, when I graduated college, I confronted the fear.
In 1989, I joined a team in rough-touch football league in NE Philly. This league had a reputation for top talent and toughness; basically it was a brutal “almost-tackle” football league that qualified as touch football so long as the defender had two palms on the offensive player. I was WR, QB and DB…and I got routinely pummeled. Remember, this was 1989 and it was still a suit-and-tie corporate environment; there were many times I went to work on Monday with bruises and cuts on my face. You may not be able to see it, but there are some well-earned bloodstains on the jersey in the picture.
I loved every bruise, cut, strained hamstring and broken finger I received, because it all meant something. It meant confronting a fear and challenging myself to do something that was different and had some risk. Same thing has to happen with career. I always say that fear is a liar and a bully and it convinces you to back down, avoid risk, not take a chance. But you have to beat back fear if you ever want to become who you were meant to be.