I checked the temperature outside. It was cold. Really damn cold and windy. The kind of weather I avoid now that I am old (over 50 years old).
It would not get above 20 degrees all day. I wondered if our trip to Blacksburg Virginia was a big mistake. What in the world were we doing there?
I let Riley know that it was going to be a tough day. He didn’t mind. He was committed, and ready to roll.
After all, Riley reminded me. We did not drive all that way to give up because it was cold.
He was right, and I knew it. Not sure why I was reluctant to get out of my comfort zone.
Riley wanted to pursue his dream of playing college soccer
It was January 2019. We were in Blacksburg for a college soccer scouting camp. Riley spent the day playing soccer in the freezing cold to demonstrate his growing talents to college soccer coaches.
A few months earlier Riley let me know that he wanted to pursue his dream of playing college soccer.
I was supportive of the idea but somewhat reluctant to get outside my comfort zone to help my younger son achieve his dream.
Looking back now — my hesitation was stupid.
Why I wrote this billboard
I wrote this billboard as a reminder that I need to get out of my comfort zone for my sons. They deserve nothing less.
I love my sons, but I can be selfish and put my own needs and desires before theirs. I do not claim to be a great father. At best, I am an average dad.
For example — given a choice, I will stay in my own comfort zone, and not go the extra mile for my sons.
It is not something I am proud to share, but it is the truth.
My comfort zone is a warm and cozy couch
I tend to be lazy on weekends. I work hard during the week and enjoy relaxing when I am not in the office.
My comfort zone is a warm and cozy couch watching sports both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
My favorite sport to watch is the professional European soccer leagues. I can sit there for hours, drinking coffee watching the best players in the world battle on the pitch.
Sure I do plenty of other things each weekend, but road tripping to Blacksburg Virginia is never on my agenda. This weekend it was.
Blacksburg is enemy territory — just joking
The second half of this billboard is sort of a joke. I went to school in Charlottesville Virginia. I am a proud graduate of the University of Virginia.
We Cavaliers consider Blackburg, Virginia (home of the Hokies) to be enemy territory. I don’t like going there. Mainly because Blacksburg is full of Hokies.
I say that in jest. Virginia Tech is an excellent school, and I have many friends who are Hokies.
But Blacksburg is over four hours away from my home down route 81. It is a miserable drive, but this trip was worth it.
Riley went outside his comfort zone when attending showcase events
Riley attended several college soccer showcase events that fall/winter. We went to one in Richmond, another in Ferrum, this one in Blacksburg, and the final one in Raleigh.
Each trip was an adventure that required Riley to get outside his comfort zone. He was playing with different players each time in front of coaches that he met for the first time during the event. Riley’s persistence paid off.
He continued playing better and better and was making good progress towards achieving his dream.
All I did was drive the car and watch from the sidelines.
Leaving your comfort zone is a good thing
I need to admit that going to all these events was not my idea of a good time. Leaving my comfort zone never is fun.
It is much easier to sit on my couch on the weekend, wasting time.
But, Riley needed my help and support. I decided to do all that I could, although cold days like the one in Blacksburg made me wonder.
The reality is that I should have been more willing to outside my comfort zone for Riley. That is where all growth happens.
Gritty people train at the edge of their comfort zone. They zero in on one narrow aspect of their performance and set a stretch goal to improve it.
This trip outside the comfort zone paid off
Despite the severe weather, Riley played well in Blacksburg. Several coaches asked him to attend other events so that they could evaluate his talent further.
Riley went and performed well enough to be offered a scholarship to play soccer at Ferrum college.
He became the first Keating to ever play college soccer.
What a great achievement! I am a super proud dad!
It never would have happened if Riley was not willing to go outside his comfort zone.
All I had to do was get outside my own by getting off the couch to help. Definitely glad I made the right decision.
What about you?
Do you linger in your comfort zone?
Or are you willing to get off the couch and give it a go?
Riley did and is now playing college soccer.
I sometimes wonder nowadays how many things I missed out on earlier in my life because I was unwilling to get out of my comfort zone.
Don’t make the same mistake as me, and get out there.
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I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it