Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sitting The Bench

This is my excited face
So there I was.

Until my friend, Swaney, convinced me to try out for the soccer team, I figured my life was complete without soccer. Then one day after gym class, she came up to me, and suggested trying out. When I told her I've never played before, she told me it didn't matter, I could run. Sure enough, I went to try outs, and was on the JV team.

The only picture I could find
of Swaney (black) and me (salmon)
It was my freshmen year of high school, my very first game. That glorious spring day, I was sitting on the bench, when the ref blew the whistle and the girls on both teams launched into motion. They ran around on the field, people around me hollered things I didn't understand. I only knew to kick the ball    --> that way, down the field.

"Schmidt," my coach yelled after about five minutes.


"You're in, sub (enter some player's name, here)."

This was it, the moment I'd waited for, my moment to shine. I jogged to the half-field line like my shin guards didn't stink, totally ready to pull a teammate out and take her spot.  I get to play, I get to play! I was like a puppy with a tennis ball being waved in front of its face.

And then I stood there.

And watched all the girls run, and move, and run and move. The ball bounced back and forth, between players, teams. Girls took hits in the chest, head, thigh, with amazing control. I...was still working on that aspect of the game.

One of our players passed the ball back to another girl on our team. Wait, we're supposed to have strategy here? Not just kick the ball? Suddenly everything I'd been trained to do for the last month or so, was wrong.

I left the mid-field line before the refs could sub me in. "Hey coach?" I asked.

She looked at me, surprised that I was still standing there, "What's up?"

"So...I've never actually played soccer before, and this is my first game. Is it okay if I sit for a little bit longer until I'm ready to go in?" I asked.

She chuckled, "Yea, I'll ask you again in a bit."

I reclaimed my seat on the bench with my other teammates giving me questioning looks. "I'm not ready," I told them.

A few minutes passed, I watched the girls, the way they moved with the ball, they way they played off of one another like an actual team. The game seeped into my veins and ignited something like passion.

"Schmidt?" my coach called. "You ready yet?"


I ran again to the line, subbed out a player, and entered my first game. The puppy and tennis ball feeling never left me. I ran fast, and I ran hard, and I stole the ball...more than once.

I'm pretty sure we lost that first game, but I didn't care because I was ready to play. After that day, I started every game. I was no longer a bench warmer, and all because I waited until I actually was ready to play.

So, what does this have to do with writing?

It's simple.

Those of us who are unpublished, and un-repped, we are the bench warmers. We're watching the game go back and forth Hey did you see so-and-so just got a deal? They're being published in May 2014, Omg, Omg, Omg.

We're also the coaches who send our star player (our novel) out to play when it's its first time in the game. The agents are the voice in the backs of our heads saying, "You're not quite ready yet," instead of saying, "No, you're not good enough." And so after several moments of panic, and mild depression, we resume editing.

We get scared, we sit down, we keep the bench warm.

But when we're ready, when our star player is ready, maybe we won't rock that first game, but hey, at least we'll know how to play.

Moral: Keep editing, keep pushing. Don't give up. You're not getting rejected, you're being told to sit down for a few more minutes.

Also, stop by tomorrow for more high school stories thanks to the blog hop :)


  1. What an awesome analogy! I love it! I'm really good at being a bench warmer right now, but I'm taking notes and I'm almost ready to play :)

    1. I've been thinking about it a lot, finally decided to share it :) I'm standing at the mid-field mark, still watching the game, knowing I can get better :) (Gotta work on that showing and not telling)

  2. i LOVE this. Oh my gosh. I've been playing soccer since I was five so this analogy is so perfect for me :)

    And you're so right. It's not that we're not good enough. We're just not ready.

    Awesome post!

    1. Thank you for the support!! I love soccer now, I miss playing a lot!!

      And yes, it isn't that we're not good enough, we're still learning :)

  3. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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