FIT & FAB
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.