I met Don in Arkansas several years ago when we both were working for an advertising agency in Little Rock. He was always super talented at his job and pushed himself to do more. After years of working together, it was inspiring to me to see him land a new job doing what he loved for a non-profit that he was passionate about. I know he is so excited to join us in support of Street Soccer USA for a week in Arkansas and I can’t wait to catch up with him too. It’s been probably 5 years since I’ve seen this bearded wild man.
The Road is different for everyone and Tough comes in all shapes and sizes. For many of our Street Soccer USA players the road is the path out of the homeless shelter system. I’ve never been homeless but from what I see and hear from some of our players this journey can seem impossible at times and as if they are in it all alone. At our practices we try to create a fun and safe space for players to meet new people and form bonds on the field with teammates, coaches and volunteers that transfer off the field. We set goals and encourage each other to achieve our wildest dreams!
Recently a group of friends and I went to the Poconos Raceway with the common goal to complete a Tough Mudder; 12 mile race with 22 obstacles. We planned and trained leading up to the race but nothing could prepare us for the freezing mud that we would be running, crawling, climbing and swimming through for 3 hours straight. We pushed our bodies to the limits and encouraged each other along the way. There were certain obstacles that would have been impossible without members of a team ahead of us helping us complete the course. The photo above is of me and another Street Soccer USA coach giving each other a high five after jumping off a 15 ft plank into a 12 ft deep ditch of muddy water. I have thrown a lot of high fives in my day but this was truly one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment as we neared the end of the race. It is a great metaphor for the seemingly impossible obstacles we are faced with in our daily lives and how through preparation, teamwork and dedication we can achieve anything we set our minds to.
This Bike Cruisade is not only a way to raise awareness about what we do at Street Soccer USA but it is yet another way to prove that if we set our goals high we can achieve them no matter how impossible it may seem. The physical part of the journey will no doubt be difficult as we ride 60-100 miles each day, but I think the really difficult part is the mental game. There will be days where we want to quit because we are tired, we are lost, we are hurt, we are alone, we are hungry, but we won’t! We know there are people cheering us on and expecting to see us ride through their city.
While we are on the subject of support and teamwork, we still need a lot of support financing this trip and the gear needed to accomplish our goal. Email BikeCruisade@gmail.com or if you have any connections with potential gear sponsors or visit the Join The Cruisade tab to make a donation .
Check out The Path to see if we will be coming through your neck of the woods. We’d love to meet you!