Thu, Jan


What is your pas­sion? What makes your heart sing? What doesn't feel like work, chal­leng­ing though it may be? I be­lieve that each one of us has been put here for a pur­pose and that we all have par­tic­u­lar gifts and tal­ents. “The heart of hu­man ex­cel­lence of­ten be­gins to beat when you dis­cov­er a pur­suit that ab­sorbs you, frees you, chal­lenges you, or gives you a sense of mean­ing, joy or pas­sion.”

Not every­one is aca­d­e­m­ic. Some are gift­ed in mu­sic, some with com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, oth­ers have a nat­ur­al propen­si­ty for sport. Once you make the com­mit­ment to pur­su­ing your pas­sion, fail­ure is not an op­tion. You must main­tain the con­vic­tion that it is not open to com­pro­mise. Sad­ly fear keeps most of us from pur­su­ing our pas­sion. “Don't wait for the fear to stop be­fore you leap.” says Lisa Nichols. “Be will­ing to leap afraid.” Re­mem­ber that when you choose your path not on­ly will you face ob­sta­cles and chal­lenges but oth­ers will try to sab­o­tage your ef­forts, to keep you with­in their com­fort zone. As you move in­to your new pos­si­bil­i­ty the naysay­ers and dream steal­ers will dis­cour­age you. Be your own en­cour­ager. Don't ex­pect peo­ple to mo­ti­vate you.

To­day Fit and Fab pays trib­ute to some­one in the field of sport. Against all odds Paul De­cle is pur­su­ing his pas­sion for coach­ing young peo­ple in the field of foot­ball. He has sac­ri­ficed every­thing to pur­sue a goal which still has many lim­i­ta­tions and chal­lenges in the Caribbean. His pas­sion and his self­less­ness are tru­ly an in­spi­ra­tion. —Judy Al­can­tara

My first mem­o­ry play­ing sport was as a boy grow­ing up on the rug­by pitch with my dad a few days a week. No coach­es, no rules, just free­dom of play.

As kids, we played in the street, our sport of choice—crick­et and foot­ball.

I played sport right through the ear­ly school days in­to Fa­ti­ma col­lege and then on to col­lege in Cana­da. I did not re­alise then that the lifestyle and val­ues were be­ing passed through to me in a pow­er­ful way. They would be­come a sleep­ing gi­ant that would lay in­side me for years.

The field of play is where I felt at home. I could think for my­self. We could make mis­takes and fail and then we would ar­gue amongst our­selves but the one thing that nev­er stopped was the game. We were al­lowed to fall and fail and then find a so­lu­tion and get back up and keep mov­ing. Lessons in life were be­ing formed through sport.

I was nev­er very aca­d­e­m­ic. I did not see my­self fit­ting in­to the cor­po­rate world.

I strug­gled many years to find a place to fit and grow as an in­di­vid­ual. Some­times our chal­lenge is find­ing our true pur­pose. I knew that I loved coach­ing and I tru­ly be­lieved that this was my call­ing.

The words "jump­ing off a cliff" are words that I will hold with me for a very long time. The strug­gle to de­cide to take the plunge, to close down one busi­ness and de­cide to go in­to a pro­fes­sion that tra­di­tion­al­ly in the Caribbean is a part-time job. How could I do it? How could I take that plunge?

With the birth of my three boys, my whole per­spec­tive on life be­gan to change. My world would be­gin to un­fold as though the map was al­ready drawn. Life has a way of push­ing us in­to ful­fill­ing our des­tiny. See­ing my boys grav­i­tate to­wards the field of play be­gan to de­mand me spend­ing more and more time on the field. As my el­dest start­ed his jour­ney in­to high school I found my­self vol­un­teer­ing as a coach to as­sist wher­ev­er help was need­ed. At 40 I re-en­tered the class­room to ac­quire my first coach­ing li­cence. This would flip the switch that would turn my life in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. When your pas­sion be­comes a re­al­i­ty you al­most will it to hap­pen. It be­comes a full-time oc­cu­pa­tion.

The few ma­jor suc­cess­es that I had came af­ter many fail­ures. Peo­ple do not see the hard work and sac­ri­fice that goes in­to each day, the many ob­sta­cles that we en­counter on our own dif­fer­ent paths. There is a lev­el of lone­li­ness that you have to over­come in fo­cus­ing on your vi­sion and fight­ing to bring it to life. Sport gave me that nev­er say die mind­set. It's al­most sur­re­al when you have set off on a path and have a vi­sion. There is an in­ner strength you find that you nev­er knew was there, that keeps you mov­ing every day. Some of our great­est lessons are learned when we are brave enough to try.

I have learned that hav­ing goals is the easy part. The goal should not be our main fo­cus be­cause the process is what gets us there. Fo­cus­ing on the dai­ly tasks that help us ac­com­plish the goal is the key. As we strug­gle we can feel a sense of progress and ac­com­plish­ment by hav­ing small vic­to­ries each day that bring us clos­er to the re­al­i­sa­tion of our goals.

My ma­jor strength comes from my wife who is the glue that holds our fam­i­ly strong­ly to­geth­er.

As I con­tin­ue to pur­sue my dream and deal with the many tri­als and con­flicts that I face I have learned many lessons.

Give every young kid a chance to do two things: 1. Have fun play­ing a sport at the recre­ation­al lev­el. 2. For those that have the pas­sion and want to pur­sue this game, we must struc­ture a sound method­ol­o­gy and a pro­gramme to re­flect this while send­ing play­ers along a sen­si­ble and ground­ed path­way.

We gain life skills through sport. We need to be tru­ly pas­sion­ate about equip­ping play­ers with the so­cial skills need­ed to sur­vive in to­day's world. Sport is the ve­hi­cle used to dri­ve the change. Play­ers from a young age find some­thing in them­selves that they can iden­ti­fy with­in the re­al world, eas­ing their nat­ur­al in­te­gra­tion.

In­ter­ac­tion in groups and be­ing part of a team is vi­tal. Con­flict res­o­lu­tion is one of the most im­por­tant life lessons. Try­ing and fail­ing in sport reg­is­ters an in­valu­able life skill.

In­evitably you end up with a well round­ed young play­er on and off the field.

De­spite the many on­go­ing chal­lenges, I am thank­ful that I chose to fol­low my dream. In my coach­ing ca­reer in the space of four years, I have worked my­self up from a vol­un­teer coach to be­ing a lo­cal­ly and in­ter­na­tion­al­ly li­cenced coach and get­ting the job as as­sis­tant coach for the Women's na­tion­al U17 fut­sal (foot­ball) team.

Some of our great­est lessons are learned when we are brave enough to try.

SOURCE: T&T Guardian