On Day 9 of this incredible journey we woke up in a quiet Crewe, VA at the Comfort Inn, which was actually pretty comfy. Our game plan for the day was to just ride as far down Tobacco Heritage Road and Hwy 360 as our bodies would allow. I don’t think any of us actually thought we would make the entire 90 miles to Danville, VA but we did! Our bikes and bodies must be getting stronger! We just need our minds to stay strong.
Our morning was full of back roads and country homes still sleeping. I think we saw more dogs on the road than cars. They like chasing us and I’m pretty sure one of us yelped out in terror as a German Shepard got off the porch to say hello.
After an easy 22 miles we decided to stop for some lunch at noon in Keysville, VA. We stumbled upon a Cajun restaurant called Badeaux’s with the most friendly staff. Our waitress was so excited to hear about our journey that she called the local paper. Within the hour we were eating fried alligator and getting interviewed by The Southside Messenger. It didn’t really feel like an interview but a two way conversation as the waitress Amanda at her lunch at the bar with us and Noel came in with a camera and notepad. We told Noel that he should be interviewing Amanda our waitress who used to be a firefighter and tow truck driver. She now delivers mail, works in the restaurant, goes to welding school and is a single mother of two. Now that’s pretty incredible!
I shared my story with Noel about getting introduced to this whole soccer for social change and development world. The short version started with seeing the Kicking It documentary in 2010, raising money to volunteer at the 2011 Paris Homeless World Cup, being so inspired by the experience to quit my job of 4 years upon returning to Arkansas, moving to New York on a leap of faith with two bags and the hopes of working for Street Soccer USA. He said that he was so glad I mentioned the leap of faith because he is a builder but got his job as a reporter by responding to an ad in the paper looking for freelance reporter and he is now looking to move up and run the new office one town over!
I feel like this trip is a result of seeing opportunity and taking it. Sometimes you have to take a risk or try something out of your comfort zone and daily routine in order to grow and discover things about yourself you never knew where possible.
For most of our Street Soccer USA players that leap of faith can mean just coming to that first practice and trying it out. As a long-time lover of this beautiful game I feel it is a time and space to relax and relieve stress. I love sharing this experience and creating it for others who would otherwise be sitting in their room alone with the same worries that were running through their head the day before and the before that and the day before that.
I hope that someone, somewhere out there reading this has been encouraged by our journey to step out of their daily routine and do something to help someone or maybe even themselves. If you feel something inside of you pulling toward something or someone I suggest you see what it’s all about. You never know what’s at the end of that road.
Speaking of, we literally don’t know what’s ahead of us today. We have 150 miles between Danville, VA and Charlotte, NC. I hope NC is flatter than VA but if it’s half as beautiful then it will be alright in my book.
Day 10. 580 miles. Mount up!