Saturday, November 26, 2016

My reputation

Throughout my life I have developed a strong reputation in many facets; whether it be academically, socially, or athletically I have always prided myself on being the best I can be and creating a strong resume for myself. While I have excelled academically and socially, I believe the domain where I developed the strongest reputation was my ability as a soccer player. Growing up, I was regarded as one of the best players in my area. I started varsity as a freshman, I was on the Dailey Herald "Watch List" as a sophomore in high school, I was named to the Dailey Herald All First-Team as a Junior, while also receiving an All-Sectional award as a Junior. I was on the pre-season All-State team as a senior, but chose to forgo my senior season and play for a travel team that plays all year around, they did not let me play high school soccer.

I developed my reputation at a young age, I played travel soccer for my local club team where I stapled myself as one of the better players in the area. From there, I broke the Grayslake Middle School goal record in a two-year career (our school only had 7th and 8th grade), joined a top 10 team in the country, and then as I mentioned before, excelled in high school. I finished top 3 in goals scored in school history, while not even playing my senior season. I was consistent and proved to my teammates and coaches that I was able to preform in games and not just practice. I had colleges coming to watch me play, calling me every week, and even taken official visits to schools. While I was a great soccer player, I had a temper and my reputation was built on skill and temper. My sophomore year I was a hot head, I drew 14 cards in 20 games. I was carded for dissent, unneccessary tackles, and often was not afraid to throw an elbow or a punch. I would snap at comments from players and let people get underneath my skin, it was a weakness.

I was embarrassed of the player I became and decided I needed to make a change. I no longer wanted to be regarded as "Robert, the great soccer player who cannot control his temper", but as "Robert, the great soccer player with a competitive nature to want to win." Instead of losing my temper and screaming at refs and punching kids in the face for tackling me, I used this negative energy and turned it into positive energy. I did not want to be remembered as a hot head. Instead, I would take a second to calm myself down before I did anything rash and if I did channel anger, I would use this anger to score a goal or make a fair tackle rather than swear at the ref.  I wanted to change for the better, I wanted to create a new reputation, a positive one. I lowered my card count from 14 my sophomore season to 1 my junior year, it was my first game and I swear it was a clean tackle. I controlled my temper and as a result, my reputation changed. Once I decided not to play my senior season, my soccer reputation grew as I joined an elite soccer club called Chicago Magic Academy. This was one of the best soccer clubs in the nation and even produced the current national team goalie, Brad Guzan. I believe my only "cash-in" was deciding not to play for my high school, I was regarded immediately as top talent for making the team, but in the end I wish I had played high school soccer because it was more enjoyable and provided me with more pleasure. I chose not to play at the collegiate level, except for club where I helped guide the Men's Soccer team as UIUC to a Final 4 in Arizona.        


  1. Some of this you've mentioned before, either in your blogging or when we talked one-on-one. I got the impression that during your "hothead" phase this was harmful to you or to your team in some ways. You didn't elaborate on that here, but maybe you should reconsider it. For the purpose of addressing the prompt, that behavior might fit in terms of cashing it in.

    As yourself whether others would think of a hothead as a selfish person. (BTW, since my brother is at UMich and they just had the big game with OSU, I paid attention to this where otherwise I wouldn't have. Jim Harbaugh acted like a real jerk after that game.) If so, is indulging that a kind of cashing in?

    A different issue in sports, I have no way of knowing whether it is relevant in your case, is "acting" to get a foul called on another player. Mediocre players don't get those calls, but stars do. That certainly is a type of cashing in, one that really isn't fair play.

  2. did your gameplay change once you controlled your "hot head" tendencies? for me i played with some kids who's whole entire game revolved around their more aggressive style of play. i am curious if your style of play or performance had to go through a transitional stage while you worked on controlling your emotions.

  3. I would say that losing your temper in this case is a form of "cashing in." If you lost your temper, you are essentially saying that maintaining reputation is not as important as getting frustrated over the scenario. If it costs your team, I would assume you would regret it. Otherwise it may matter very little to you.