One of a Million

By | April 14, 2020

What about a soccer star is so magnetizing? Is it the fame? Or the ability, wealth, or influence? Simply put, we all value things differently, and it’s likely the things we value most that will pull us to any particular star. A particularly passionate person may be drawn to a star’s passion for the sport, just as a particularly hard-working individual may come to respect the discipline it took to become such a star. On the flip side, someone who’s failed to find passion for anything in life may devote him/herself to a star’s passion instead, perhaps living vicariously through them. Not only does the reason for the allure vary from person to person, but the degree of fanaticism varies as well. Some may simply respect the sheer improbability that is the soccer star and nothing more, while others go to the extreme of worshiping someone they view as a flawless superhero.

Either way, the many branches of a soccer star’s allure may stem from a common root – a dare to dream. While the expanse of humanity’s imagination is a breadth of subjects on it’s own, one important aspect that comes into play here is the ability to dream – to aspire. How many children have attached themselves to a sport, willing to dream and play in order to one day contest the best? And in their endeavors found idols that had accomplished their dreams, only to further fuel a youth’s passion?

How many never achieved the original objective?

The truth of the matter is that hard work and raw talent are both hard to come by and the intersection between the two even harder. The adage goes that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Sure – the tortoise and the hare provided us all with a crystal-clear visualization of that fact. But if the hare had an equally undying work ethic? Annihilation. No contest. And with the sheer number of people who fight for success in professional football, there’s hardly any room for talent or hard work alone to succeed.

This realization is harder for some than others, and the truth is never clear. How much latent potential one has isn’t easy to judge (in fact people that are good at it get paid a decent amount), and the ultimate outcome must either end in this realization or the exceptionally rare success. This isn’t to say that the journey to this realization must be negative in any sense and can’t branch off to different paths parallel to the sport itself, but it’s a very real one. And in this common journey, a possible commonality that pulls us all to the star is born – the contentment of living the dream vicariously.

So what about a soccer star is so magnetizing? While we will always watch and admire the ones that made it and maybe even hazard aspiring to be that one, the hardest part is sometimes accepting that it simply won’t happen – that instead of being the ‘one in a million,’ we’ll only ever be ‘one of a million.’ And perhaps this is the true allure of a soccer star.

One thought on “One of a Million

  1. Rachel Simpson

    It is really interesting to think about why we are so intrigued by soccer stars when they truly are humans like us, yet when they play it doesn’t feel that way. It is hard to imagine that someone could be born with such incredible talent and have the work ethic to hone their game to what it becomes when they are at their peak. Not only does it require immense effort, but as we read in Under the Lights and in the Dark becoming a soccer star also requires a profound level of patience, undying hope, and the ability to overcome immense levels of adversity. It is fascinating to watch soccer stars play because it is sometimes unimaginable to think that they can perform so well live in what looks like could be a part of a movie scene.

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