I firmly believe the majority of success in football can be boiled down to the experiences we undergo in our teenage years.
If you're between the ages of 14-19 years old, you’re most likely living in the moment; naive to the impact your decisions will have on your future self.
You have difficulty envisioning a life where there is anything but prosperity, success and material abundance.
You envision, you think, you dream, but the actions required to possess a 1% career are fleeting at best.
Let’s rewind to a 13-year old Spencer who was watching the 2008 Olympics convincing himself he was going to be playing in the 2012 London games. The fans, stadiums, the competition were all that mattered.
Delusion… Yes, I agree with you.
But driven by the unknown and motivated to become someone who I didn’t yet deserve to be.
Blind ignorance, sure, but let’s be clear…
They say there are 2 ways to be fooled in this game. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.
However, I propose a third… Doing something everyday that has proven to be true for another player, and believing it will lead to the same outcome for you in the future.
No path is the same, no single journey leads to the same destination for all.
Fast forward 3 years and I convinced myself if I trained 5 days a week, made the right connections, marketed myself appropriately, I would somehow find myself on a professional team after high school.
Doing the same thing(s) that resulted in the success of another individual and assuming the same outcome for yourself only makes the climb more painful when you fall from your glass throne.
At 19-years old I had just left my first college program, failed to make a transfer over the summer and found myself back home in Florida for 6 months to figure out where my football career stood.
I believe we all have conversations in our teenage years that change everything for us…
Whether you choose to recognize them at the time or not is irrelevant as they will inevitably have a strong impact on your career in the years to come.
I have always had differences with my parents, specifically in the years following high school graduation.
Although our opinions regarding success, football, religion and wealth creation are very different even to this day, the respect for each other is now mutual.
On August 12th, 2014 my father told me something that would fundamentally alter the reasons why I continued playing football.
The conversation ended with, "You're going fucking nowhere in life… You're going to to be a nobody and you have no future in football."
In one conversation the reason for playing completely switched… It went from outside entities controlling my motivation, to internal affliction laying the foundation for purpose and reason again.
Although hate can only fuel the fire temporarily, it allows for the logical evaluation of why you’re continuing to pursue a dream where 99% of those who try end up failing.
Remembering why you still play this game, why you still decide to put on the boots even after dozens of rejections, countless injuries and years of blood, sweat and tears, will allow you the longevity to pursue your goal regardless of what this game may throw your way.
The goal shouldn't be to play at the highest level possible…
The goal should be to play for the right reasons, for as long as possible.