During the many Beach Weeks spent with my husband and his family on Hilton Head, South Carolina I was exposed to a great man who spoke little. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was said during a beach volleyball game when a throng of sweaty, sandy, half-naked people surrounded me, vying for the ball. My team captain, who happened to be the aforementioned man, my husband’s Nordic-God-looking Uncle Dean, was yelling the following to us upon missing a point: “Now’s the time to play!” As I was prone to do, I giggled uproariously. The intensity in his voice coupled with his smile and kind eyes allowed me the reaction. However, even at that moment, my younger self knew that I was just given very sage advice.
The sentiment that was uttered was not only intended to rally the troops on the volleyball team, but was a grander call to take opportunity when it is given and put your all forth. When a situation arises that calls for complete attention and wherewithal, that must be the priority and nothing else! Moments occur suddenly that leave us feeling unprepared, but when they happen, we must react! We must utilize every ounce of courage, passion, and strength to offer our best foot forward and get the win, be it personal or team. We only have now. The past is over and the future is uncertain at best. The present is the time to put focus and concentration to the test; rally strength, determination, and energies to accomplish the goals ahead.
Over the years these words resonated with me. I’ve used them superficially in a physical education class I was substitute teaching in as the children, ironically enough, were playing a game of volleyball and performing in a lackluster fashion. I’ve used it more imploringly when I’ve watched youngsters I know test for their black belt and are at “empty” but still have need to dig for more energy and belief. I utter the words to myself when I feel I cannot write one more thing or take on another work commitment; I remember that the opportunity is presenting itself now, so it is my duty to myself, to take that chance to soar. “Now’s the time to play”. We only have now. I want to live my life knowing I tried my hardest at everything I did and not regret not playing when I had the opportunity.
Thanks, Uncle Dean, for being a fantastic coach on the volleyball court, and in life. Your simple and hardcore approach to squeezing everything out of life is commendable and powerful. I love hearing your words fall out of my mouth whether it is aimed at my children, the television, or myself. The next time you feel you just can’t do it, tell yourself these simple words and live by them, “now’s the time to play”.