I’ve spent the last several chapters telling you all about my life and the little bit of this and that which happened around it. See, the fact is that my life had always been pretty simple. Yeah, I got sidetracked and caused problems here and there, but it’s been mostly simple. I complicated it with Becky, but somehow things work out and if I hadn’t gotten Becky pregnant, I would’ve never met Nina or had Ana, Alejandro (who we call Alejo for short) or Enrique (Kiko for short). Yeah, the last child was also a boy. 4 boys, 1 girl.
Diego and Antonio are going to school. They started this year. Ana will be behind them next year. Alejo in two years, and Enrique in a few more years. Nina tells me she wants to get a job again once the kids go back to school. She doesn’t need to.
At 30 years of age, I’ve been playing professional sports now for the last 8 years of my life. I’ve become the top striker for San Myshuno FC, I’ve helped them win the league three times in the last 8 years, and I’ve gotten paid for it. My children and my wife will never have to want for anything. Nina will never have to work again if she doesn’t want to. My kids will all go to college. And there’s substantial investments that’ve been made with some of the money, so they should all be good for their lives.
At 30, you realize you’ve more years behind you as a player than you do in front of you. The great ones can last into their late 30s. Once in a while one will make it past 40, but between 32 and 35, you stop becoming a featured player. Hell, I’m lucky to still be playing at 30. The average career in pro sports is about 3-4 years.
Of course, you start noticing things, too. I was always the first name on the team sheet. Games against big clubs, against clubs we should have no problem beating… I was always on the list. Now, I noticed I’m being rotated out of the games that we should either win easily or have no bearing on our quest for greatness. I noticed that it takes me a little longer to recover from gamedays. I worry that soon I’ll be off my game, and that’s when the young kid will come in. That’s when the next one gets his shot to take your place. That’s when you start thinking about finding a new club to take you on for a few years to keep you playing and doing the thing you’ve been doing since you were 10.
I keep pushing myself and training myself. I keep learning the newest advances in training to keep myself in top form. You have to do that to keep going. The hard work doesn’t stop because you’ve made a good career out of it. To be the best, you must train like the best. You must work even harder than the rest. You must always remember that someone is behind you looking over your shoulder ready to take your place and leave you behind. Age is just a number, but in my line of work, it’s a huge and foreboding number.
Still, in the grand scheme, I am a young man. I will be able to spend the time with my kids and my wife. We will take more family vacations. We will enjoy our lives once my career is over. I’m not the only one who’s had to work hard at this. My parents did when I was young working their fingers to the bones when I needed new kit and money to go to the academy or to go to an away game. My wife sacrifices every day because of my job. She gave up her life to raise our children. My children sacrifice because they can’t see their daddy like all the other kids can. I don’t keep banker’s hours. I can be gone for days and even weeks at a time. I hope they always know this was done for them as well as for me.
So, now you’re all caught up with my life. I’m going to stop talking now. I can’t tell you anymore. I don’t know the future, only the past. I just hope the Author of my life is as good at telling you about my life as I am.
I am the American dream. I am the child of immigrants from Spain who came to the United States for a better life for themselves. My mother was pregnant with me when they left Madrid and moved here, but I was born in America. I am a first-generation Spanish-American. I have worked my ass off to build the kind of life few in Spain or America could ever hope for. I am the husband to an amazing wife and the father of 5 amazing kids. They are my legacy. I don’t know what the next chapters of my life will bring, but as they are written, I’m certain you’ll know.
Don’t worry, I’m sure the Author of my life will allow me to butt in from time to time to talk. At least I hope so.
Peace and Love!