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Playing with...

Over the past few weeks, I've resumed playing football. While it is always exciting to play the game, there are two ways to play it. And often, when an underdog team beats a favourite, even on the biggest of stages like the Barclays Premier League, the reason is that the winning team plays one way while the losing team plays the other. Because if both teams play the same way, then there is only one winner possible. The underdog doesn't stand a chance.

The first way is playing with the body. The body is at the centre of all decision making. Should I stretch? Should I chase down that ball? Should I go into that tackle? Should I make that run? Should I jump and head that? Should I sprint faster? Should I slide in?

Each of these questions are answered based on how much I can safely stretch my body to do. Never going over the top. Always driving under the speed limit. Never exerting too much energy. Even when the opponent steals the ball and runs at goal to score, I decide whether to chase after him or not based on what I think my body can handle.

The other way is to play with heart. The body is no longer at the centre of all decision making. Each of these questions are now answered by the sheer desire to win and the desire to play at the highest level possible. Even if the body is screaming out in pain that it isn't possible to sprint anymore, I sprint. Even when the body is bruised and battered, I go on.

It isn't possible to play with heart all the time, every game. And that's alright. But it needs to happen often enough.

Humans are inherently story tellers.

And a story where you turn up and play for a while and aren't stretched in any manner and go back home a winner is not an interesting story. Because the best stories involve a challenge being presented and then being overcome. And to overcome a challenge, we need to play with heart.

This is the reason many people in well paid jobs quit and decide to do something on their own. This is the reason people run marathons. This is the reason people climb mountains.

Because we crave to tell ourselves that story where we overcome a seemingly unassailable challenge. We crave to tell ourselves that story where we played with heart. 

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