Monday, August 22, 2011

If You Don't Love It, Don't Do It.

My 15 year-old son has some God-given gifts.  He's very athletic, a fast runner and builds muscle easily.  Gifts most teenage boys would embrace.  Gifts that could open a lot of doors in life.  Gifts that are perfect for football. 

His dad went to a Division I college on a football scholarship.  He was a stand-out running back through high school and set some college records that still stand today. 

My son is back-up running back on the JV football team.  Not the first JV team full of the best athletes, but the second JV team.  He goes to a large 4A school in Texas.  Competition is fierce for everything, but especially for football.  He's faster than the starting running backs on all of the teams, he's bigger, he's stronger.  He should be starting, but he's not. 

Why?  Because he doesn't like football.

I've been denying it for years but I always suspected it.  My dreams for his future included a football scholarship.  His dreams are to attend the Naval Academy and become a SEAL.  He's never liked sports, even when he excelled at them at a younger age.  It's never been more obvious than this year.  When he's on the field, his apathy shows.  His gifts go unused.  The passion isn't there.  Others want it more. 

Slowly I'm coming to accept this but it's hard.  I mean really, really hard.  But, I would never push him to do something he doesn't love.  You have to be "all in", especially for something requiring such a commitment.  If your talents don't match your desire, then you need to channel them differently. 

His athletic ability will serve him well in his chosen field, I don't doubt that.  He will be unstoppable when he finds that one thing that he's passionate about.  His talents will not be wasted.

Why am I writing this on my acting blog?  Well, for one, because it's cathartic but it's not all for my own selfish reasons.  If you're acting (or doing anything) and don't know why, then question it.  Is it because someone told you that you had talent and you should be?  Or is it because you truly love it and are passionate about it?  Are you "all in"?  Acting arguably requires as much (if not more) mental toughness, training and tenacity as any competitive sport.  It's a tough go and if you aren't doing it for the right reasons, then maybe it's time to stop and re-evaluate. 

Do it because you love it. 

As for my son, I'm backing off and giving up on my dream so that he can live his. 


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