August is a low hanging hazy sun and crickets. Hot buttered corn on the cob, sliced cucumbers and afternoon warmed tomatoes. High mountain grasses are pushed around by the breeze. It is climbing mountains and exploring rivers and diving deep into cold swimming holes. It is the beginning of the end of summer. And also the bittersweet transition into soccer season. It means the end of unstructured days of woods-running and sweaty adventures and hands in garden dirt, and the beginning of intensely structured two-a-days and planning practices. Preseason is a jumble of new and colliding energies, nerves, dew-dampened feet, sprinting legs, clamoring voices, the sound of leather cleats on soccer balls and labored breath. We are each of us putting ourselves out there, making ourselves vulnerable, taking risks, building trust. It’s about pushing through discomfort. We come in scared and steeled for the unknown. It’s a reminder that life is meant to be lived, really lived, and not played safe.
There is pain and disappointment. There is heartbreak. There is sober reckoning and regret for not having prepared better. There is bitter acceptance and then the potential for writing a new future starting now. And there is joy, relief, pride. A celebration. Our bodies, all different, can do amazing things. Our hearts, each unique, can connect. There is a chaos of energy and feelings and intent and hopes and insecurities and focus, awkwardly clunking and lurching around, bumping against a lack of chemistry. But we keep at it, every day. It is not easy. Sometimes the humid air is so oppressive and sticky our chests feel too heavy to hold our breath. Muscles are pushed hard, lungs heave, sweat droplets fall from chins. It is tempting to let up, but we keep at it. And then a whisper of magic floats by. You might even miss it if you aren’t paying attention. It’s the first one, and it’s followed soon after by another. And pretty soon there’s something flowing that wasn’t there before, not all together, not like this. We are all building it individually and collectively, little by little, with a million decisions we make each day. Each time we decide to give a little more, to push a little harder, to look someone in the eye, to open, to try, to step up, to risk discomfort, we are adding to the greater whole. It is a moment that inspires awe. Watch for it. That moment when we are now becoming a thing that is more than the sum of our parts. We are exponentially greater than any one of us individually. We are becoming a tribe, a family, a team. It feels awe-inspiring and warm and wonderful and powerful. It is the beginning.