Post 1: Do What You Love Series

Have you ever heard the phrase “Do what you love”? When I was younger these words caused me to spring into action. I remember pondering on this phrase for a bit before finally dropping the sport that drained me and picking up the sport that gave my adolescent self life. I kicked soccer out of my life so that I could cause a racquet in tennis. It was a tough decision for me to make at the time because I was so good at soccer. At the age of 14 I was the starting goalkeeper for my club’s top team, I had just previously gone through a year of training with the Georgia Olympic Development Program, and I was in my best form. However, my heart was not in it. The combination of burnout, continual pressure from coaches, and discovering my love for tennis had caused me to fall out of love with the sport of soccer. So, when tryout time came for spring sports at my high school, I stunned everyone around me by choosing to tryout for the tennis team instead of soccer. All my coaches, teammates, friends, and family were taken aback by this decision. The coaches reminded me of my talent in soccer while my father reminded me of all the money and time that he had poured into my training, but I would not budge on my decision. With soccer I felt too much pressure but with tennis I felt complete freedom. I was free to suck at tennis because I quite frankly had no reputation to uphold. By playing the sport of tennis I did not have to hold the team on my back by protecting the goal and I certainly did not have past successes placing pressure on me.

Below: Picture of me my junior year on the pitch at the College of Coastal Georgia.

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The sport of tennis gave me the opportunity to start anew. I fell in love with tennis and the way I felt every time I stepped foot on the court. I loved how I was responsible for my shit and my shit only. I loved the intensity that arose in me with each and every point that I played. Whether I became successful or not was up to me, and it felt good to start from the bottom. By starting at the bottom, I was also able to create my own style of play. I learned to play tennis with two forehands, which was very unusual. Sure, I got criticized by seasoned veterans in the sport for not having a backhand, but I also turned a hell of a lot of heads. People were intrigued by my style of play because it was so different from the norm. The attention that I got by doing my OWN thing was amazing. Also, it just felt amazing to do what I loved in a way that was unique to me. Starting anew by doing what you love gives you this wonderful opportunity to be creative. You have this unique freedom to express yourself however you desire to and that is what makes doing what you love so very worth it. Now I did not turn out to be a professional athlete by any means because, well, that would be too good to be true. I did however get some college offers which eventually lead me to transfer to the college that I attend today.

Below: Picture of me the summer after my freshman year of college when I got offered a spot on the College of Coastal Georgia’s Men’s Tennis Team.

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I was able to get a taste of how life should be by choosing to do what I loved rather than sticking with what I was good at because it was familiar. I discovered a sense of freedom in doing what I loved and found myself along the way. I found that life should be about pursuing the things that you love, even if you are not sure that they will turn out the way you expect them to. Choosing to do what you love at least gives you the opportunity to pursue the future that you dream about. Doing what works at a given moment will get you by but doing what you love will energize you to chase your dreams. Don’t just do what works for you, do whatever it is that you love to do.

I am happy to say that I have picked up the sport of soccer again and that I very much enjoy it now. I play on my college’s club team and have some awesome teammates that I consider family. In fact, some of those very teammates helped to re-energize my passion for the sport. Tennis is also still a part of my life, but it is not my sole focus anymore. I enjoy tennis more as a spectator now and occasionally pick up the racquet when I am feeling keen. Moving onward I will continue to do what I love in the sports realm as well as in the rest of my life.

Look out for the next post of this series coming soon.

Sincerely,

Captain Kosz

 

 

 

Breathe

20180427_202747It is a Friday night. I find myself stuck playing video games in the living room while waiting for plans to pick up so that I can be “social”. I am scrolling through new song releases between games when I stumble across an album. The album is titled Human by Steve Angello. Human tossed just one song in my direction and I became hooked. I dropped my controller and became one myself as the music took control over me. The music moved me towards my headphones and I put them on and slid under the covers. My eyelids sealed themselves shut and would not open until I received a message. I could not immediately decipher this message, so I had to listen to the tracks until I could find it. As the album took its course I learned to follow it, as if it were drawn out inside my mind. My imagination then took hold; I began picturing the instruments being played by the very artists that held them. Every song lead to a different destination, but every song gave me the same sensations. The sensations that cascaded over me were those of relief and joy. This was the first time in a long time that I had truly listened to music without preoccupying myself in the process. It was only for a moment that I felt these amazing sensations, but I will never forget them. The sensations lead to the intended message, and it was clear: I needed to simply breathe.

 
So often in life I find myself constantly busy because I thrust myself into overdrive with my dreams and ambitions. In between working towards my dreams and partaking in healthy activities I fill my time scrolling through social media, playing video games, and watching Netflix. I’m not trying to say that any of these things are bad, but I would like to point out that we as people often over indulge in these silly pastimes. We seem to forget to take time to close our eyes and just exhale. Every human needs time to unwind and find something that truly relaxes them. Each of us needs to take a moment out our day to really think, rather than filling in the gaps of time with meaningless distractions. I have found that certain music draws me out of my everyday routine and into the instrumentals. By listening to this music in a controlled environment my creative tendencies come to life and I start to think critically. My mind goes from running on autopilot to being piloted by a greater train of thought. I have discovered an outlet that lets me plug in and power my own imaginative thinking. This outlet allows me to exhale the bullshit that drains me and inhale the fresh ideas that bring me to life. I have found my outlet, now it is your turn. What is it that allows you to breathe? Is it music? Could it be venturing out into nature? How about taking only a few minutes to meditate? Whatever your way of “breathing” may be, make sure that you set aside some time for it. You will thank yourself for doing so.

Sincerely,
Captain Kosz