I find it interesting how much things change as we go through life. We grow, we evolve, we have incredible hardships we never think we will recover from, and overwhelming successes where we feel like life could never get better than it is in that moment. We set goals we fail to reach, and we set goals that when we look back on them we realize that we should have reached higher. When times are bleak, when things are at their very worst, it is really important to have things to look forward to. It is really important to find some light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how small, and walk toward that light. Some goals, some dreams, can be accomplished on our own, and some of them you need what seems to be an army to be able to achieve.
As I look back at goals that I have set for myself over time, I realize that I have failed to reach my goals probably almost as much as I have reached them. When I start to look at which goals I failed to reach, it becomes pretty obvious to me that it was because those goals didn't really matter to me as much as the ones I reached. I mean, come on, how many of us set out to lose ten pounds over and over and have gotten sidetracked by like, or, you know, some amazing dessert.
Some of the goals that I have reached along the way may seem pretty normal to people.
Graduating high school
Getting a teaching job out of college
Some of the other goals I have reached may seem a little more difficult.
Get 50 kids recruited to play division 1 beach volleyball
Win a national championship
Coach professionally on the AVP tour
Let's stop for a second and look at some of these goals. While some may seem easier than others, you might be surprised to hear that the most difficult thing I did out of all of those was to graduate from college! That's a whole story in itself, but while some people's natural progression in life takes them right through that goal, it is more difficult for others. Another thought to realize is that some of these goals are steps in reaching other, more loft goals.
And there it is, there is the process that allows dreams to become goals and goals to be reached. What is your end goal? What is the dream that you have that you feel like is so lofty that you will never get there? Believe me, if 20 years ago when I first started playing volleyball you would have told me that I would ever get the chance to coach in the main draw of the AVP, I probably would have laughed at you. It doesn't mean that it can't happen, though.
Some dreams begin to form as a result of the path that you are currently on. With each goal you set that you figure out a way to surpass, you can take steps toward that goal that you feel like is so unattainable, you don't even know why you would dare to dream it. It starts with that, "Wouldn't it be awesome if..." statement that you make to your buddy as you are talking one day and then begins to grow. This is where "Our Dream" as the title of this post comes into play.
When Ryan and I first started RPM Sand, we had 6 players. We were really just doing private lessons with a couple of girls, that wanted to train. At that point, we hadn't even seen ourselves coaching full time on the beach yet. Heck, we were still running an indoor club in Flagstaff. As the club formed, we had a LOT of those, "Wouldn't it be awesome if..." moments along the way. Wouldn't it be awesome if we could win a tournament in California? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could qualify for a national championship? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could finish top ten in the country? Wouldn't it be awesome to build our club with a family feel to it? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could win a national championship? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could have an All-American come from RPM? Wouldn't it be awesome if a lot of our girls could get college scholarships? Wouldn't it be awesome if our girls could have an impact on the programs they played for in college? Wouldn't it be awesome to have a collegiate All-American? Wouldn't it be awesome if some of our girls ended up playing professionally some day?
Each time we had one of those "Wouldn't it be awesome..." moments, we would kind of laugh to ourselves like, yeah, that WOULD be awesome, but how the heck to we do that? It's funny because even though it wasn't like every time it happened we would sit down in some strategic meeting and lay out a plan for doing it, but don't you think for a second that he and I didn't both think about it every day until each and every one of those things happened. and NONE of them just happened once. They happened over and over and are still continuing to happen. It's that little seed that builds a dream. That dream can seem so far off at times that you don't know that it will ever be attainable, but it is!
Over the years, Ryan and I have prided ourselves on really just trying to help kids to chase their dreams. We work tirelessly at it day in and day out. The amount of work Ryan alone does behind the scenes would make your head spin. The success of our club truly comes from where our heart is at behind it. Do we get discouraged sometimes? Absolutely! It hurts to put so much of yourself, so much of your heart and soul into something, and have people talk behind your back about what you are doing, or how you are doing it. It would blow your mind to hear some of the comments we hear about ourselves from parents who don't think that we hear them. While it really hurts and can be really discouraging at times, it does not distract us from our goals. You see, our goals are not based in personal success. Our goals are based on the success of kids. They are based on the big smiles at signing day. They are based on the pictures that get sent in after a kid wins their first medal. They are based on the phone call we get from players asking us to come to their weddings. The secret behind all of our success is that we care about others more than we care about ourselves. We have the conversation at the end of every July. "Are we still in this for the right reasons? Yes? Ok, then I guess we'll be back at it again in a month."
Now that you have read all of my rambling, let's get to the point, the title. Our Dream. This dream has spawned from our only regret as coaches. That regret has always been that we can't help more kids reach for their dreams. As we do the numbers every year, as we go through the budget of what we can afford to do without trying to make our club too expensive for kids, we just can't justify growing where we are currently at. The amount the park that we practice in charges us per month for court rental grows every single year significantly.
One day a couple of years ago when we got the bill for court rental and realized that the city was making more off of our club per year than Ryan and I were making combined, we had one of those. "Wouldn't it be awesome if..." moments. "Wouldn't it be awesome if we had our own facility?" As the words escaped Ryan's mouth, we both just kind of laughed. Now THAT is a lofty goal. How would that ever be a possibility? How would we find the money to ever be able to afford to buy land and build a facility? While all of our other goals have been things that he and I could do, this dream is exactly that, it's a dream. I'm a teacher and coach volleyball. Ryan was a professional beach player and is now a coach. We don't know the first thing about getting funding or how to even go about buying land or getting a facility off the ground. Sadly, this dream has been our dream for years now.
Every once in a while we will sit down and draw out a plan for what we would want it to look like. Then we crumple the napkin up and throw it away. This dream just kind of seems too big for us. Would we love to do it? Absolutely! Have we given up on it? Not one bit! Do we have any idea of how to get to our goal? Nope, not a clue. But I can guarantee you this. If someone with the knowledge of how to go about it were to decide they wanted to invest in us, they would be investing in two guys that would work tirelessly to make sure that it was a success. We went from 6 athletes 7 years ago to 62 division 1 commits, 6 national championships, and multiple professional athletes. If someone were to invest in us and give us goals, we would work until absolutely every one of those goals was accomplished. How do i know this? Because while our dream is to own our own facility, the motivation behind it is to create a place for kids to chase their dreams. We will NEVER stop working toward that.
"Wouldn't it be awesome if..."