Fer Play - A Cal Men's Soccer Blog
Oct. 15, 2021
Dear Golden Bear fans,
Welcome back to this season's third entry! For those of you that have followed along, you might know that my goal for this season was to be writing weekly blogs, which is clearly something I haven't accomplished so far. This has nothing to do with my time management this semester, but sadly I just wasn't sure what to write about with how things are going this season. If you know anything about our season or record so far, you know it's not pretty …
This won't be a motivational blog entry talking about how we can look at the positives in what we've done so far over the past two months or anything like that. Instead, I will be very up-front about what we can do with our current situation. For starters, there are no excuses that can get us out of where we are right now: there's no complaining that will make things better & no criticism that will change where we're at as a team right now.
But wouldn't it be nice to be able to do all of these things? Isn't it easier to make excuses, complain, & criticize than to actually put in the work to find a way to turn things around? I think that we (everyone reading this & myself included) have all had these thoughts before whenever we've faced a challenge that seems like it's too hard to deal with. But if we're truly passionate about something, we'll always find a way to get the job done, no matter what the circumstances may be.
This is what brings us all back to the basics. Before even thinking about any solutions to our problems, we must remember why we started in the first place. "Start with why," Simon Sinek famously preaches. Sure, this isn't an ideal situation for our team at all, but we must all remember how privileged we are to even be here in the first place. It wasn't too long ago that we started our college recruiting process & then went on to excitingly announce that we'd be attending the best university in the world to play Pac-12 soccer, something that is a dream come true for all of us. Why is that such a big deal? Because it's what we've been working for since we fell in love with the game of soccer.
Not only that, but it wasn't too long ago that we went over a year without playing in an actual game! The thing we love most was taken away from us. Which leads to the question: why are we still playing? Because we still love this game & have so much fun playing it; something we must remember every single time we step on the field.
It's always important to remember our why. If we don't have this purpose of our love for the game driving us towards improvement, there is no point in continuing to push ourselves to become more. When we keep this in mind, we allow our purpose to guide us towards success within this game.
Now that we've remembered our purpose, we've reached the point where there are only three things that we can still do with the six games in four weekends that we have left:
- Acknowledge where we are both individually as players & collectively as a team
- It's important to remember that, as Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom) once said, "The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one."
- First, we must Acknowledge where we're at, then we must become Aware of what that means, & lastly we must take Action to make the best with what we've got (the 3 A's).
- Focus on the things we can control & ignore the rest
- This is a phrase that I shared at the beginning of the spring season earlier this year that is now a common expression used among the team, & I think it stuck with us because it truly works. There are so many uncontrollables that we've dealt with this year that it would truly only be a waste of our time to give them our focus. Instead, we must be efficient with the things that we can actually control.
- As Buddha said, "Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do. Give it to what you do or fail to do."
- Fully accept & play the hand we've been dealt with
- In his book, Think Like a Monk, Jay Shetty says that Comparing, Complaining, & Criticizing are the three Cancers of the Mind that attack our three core emotional needs: peace, love, & understanding. The horrible thing about these cancers is that they're contagious because we are social creatures & are affected by those around us, which in our case is our team. These cancers will bring out the worst of us, both individually & collectively, if we allow them to grow, which is why we must realize that there is no point in comparing, complaining, & criticizing (apply the 3 A's to this & you will understand what I mean). All that we have left to do is to accept the hand that we've been dealt & make the best with what we've got.
- If you're not ready to do this, then just re-read points 1 & 2 until they fully sink in.
So, whether you're one of my teammates/coaches, any other student-athlete or competitor, or really anyone reading this, I can assure you that although it may be the first, it's definitely not the last bump in the road that you'll be dealing with in this game that we call life. My piece of advice to you for whenever you find yourself in this type of situation would be to just hit the Reset button by implementing these four steps:
- Remembering why you started in the first place
- Acknowledging where you're at
- Focusing only on the things you can control
- Playing the hand you've been dealt with into your life to hopefully be able to make the best with what you've got.
Life & everything within it are too short to waste with the three Cancers of the Mind. We're better off practicing what the Stoics call Amor Fati – accepting & fully loving our own fate. It's only through this acceptance that we'll once again find our love for the game that made us start in the first place, which will then allow us to not only bring out the best in ourselves, but also in each other to soon be able to get back on track.
Our biggest strength as a team lies in our diversity. The variety of cultures, ideas, & lived experiences that come together to form this team may at first divide us, but it is when we listen to & learn from each other to use the best of what we're made of to find a way to get the job done that we're at our best. As soon as we fully understand that & allow it to bring out the best in this team, we'll definitely be able to turn things around for the better.
And, if literally none of this works, then, as my friend & guest on the eighth episode of my podcast Cam Kondo would say, "When things don't go right, go left."
That's it for this week on Fer Play. I hope you enjoyed this blog entry & hopefully found a thing or two to be helpful for whatever it is that life is throwing your way. You've got this!
Until next time,
Fernando Andrade, Cal M Soc #13
Sept. 21, 2021
Dear Golden Bear fans,
Welcome back to this season's second entry! The beginning of this season has already presented us with many obstacles & has been filled with ups & downs, but that's the beauty of this game. The best thing about sports isn't the trophy at the end or the recognition that everyone notices; on the contrary, it's the little things that people don't notice that make this whole journey worth it & that have gotten us to where we are today.
It's the lessons that we take away from the game that shape us into who we are in everything we do both inside & outside of the game. It's the adversity this team has already dealt with so early on in this season that has taught us how to adjust & adapt to what we have in front of us without complaining because we know that we're better off focusing on what we can control & ignoring the rest. It's Jack Singer being willing to play wherever the team needs him to & still find a way to make it work by giving his absolute best effort, which then rewards him with PAC-12 player of the week, Top Drawer Soccer's team of the week, & Gatorade Athlete of the Month. It's the crowd cheering for Shoei Honda's first collegiate goal when what they didn't see is how he struggled due to things he couldn't control during preseason, on top of the enormous sacrifice that is moving across the Pacific Ocean while still learning English to become the first out-of-state player on this team. It's Evan Davila working on his shooting every single day after practice until the ball moves exactly the way he wants it to that then turns into him consistently finding the net for the Golden Bears & earning an honorable mention to Top Drawer Soccer's team of the week.
It's all these little things that add up on the list of ingredients for a nice recipe of life success. While there's no single recipe for success & everyone has the unique ability to add in
their own ingredients, it's always great to learn from others along the way. Learning from the greats around you is also an essential ingredient in the recipe of life success. Studying the greats shouldn't get confused with studying famous people & those that society calls "successful." Studying the greats is about learning from those that are where you'd like to be. The greats can be your teammates, classmates, co-workers, bosses, friends, relatives, etc. It's not about who they are, it's just about what they've done & what you can learn from their journey.
I have a monologue episode on my podcast about this & I go over the following 3 tips on how to study the greats:
1. Identify someone that is great at what they do (especially if they're great at something that you'd like to be able to do as well)
2. Study their journey to learn about the adversity they've had to face in their journey & how they were able to overcome those obstacles along the way
3. Write down your notes from what you've learned & meditate on that information until you fully understand that you can apply those exact same steps to your recipe for life success as well
This is an extremely simple practice, but one that will definitely add a lot of flavor to your main dish of life success. Someone that I study a lot is a Mexican content creator called Roberto Martinez & one of my favorite quotes from him translates to: "We're not just made up of our influences. Rather, we're the sums of our influences plus the unique touch that we give to them by our way of understanding them." Which leads to my point that the purpose behind studying the greats isn't to copy them in the hopes of becoming them, but rather to learn as much as we can from them so that we can them go on to become greats ourselves.
I invite you all to study those around you that you consider greats, like Jack, Shoei, & Evan, or anyone that you look up to. Everyone you'll ever meet knows something that you don't, & learning from each other is what makes this game that we call life so beautiful.
That's it for today on this entry of Fer Play. If you have any comments/questions/suggestions for this blog, feel free to reach out to me via Instagram DM @FerAndraez . I loved chatting a bit with those that reached out last time & I appreciate your time. I look forward to getting to know you all a bit more throughout this season & can't wait for the next entry.
Until next time,
Fer Andrade, Cal M Soc #13
Dear Golden Bear fans,
Welcome to Season II of Fer Play! Whether you're someone that's read all of my entries or you're reading this blog for the first time & have no clue what you're getting yourself into: WELCOME! My name is Fernando Andrade (but you can call me Fer) & I'm a junior student-athlete from San Diego. In this blog, I've shared some of the lessons I've learned playing for this great team & some of the behind-the-scenes things about Cal Soccer that you may not be aware of. I look forward to continuing sharing the best lessons I'll learn this season from my teammates, coaches, opponents, & obstacles that will come our way, as well as interacting a bit more with you all & hopefully being able to answer some of the questions that you may have.
Last season's entries ended at a weird time due to a mixture of personal issues, schoolwork, & other projects I was working on, but now I'm back & better than ever. I have three main goals for the blog this fall season:
1) I will try to write more blogs (we'll see if I can keep up with weekly entries)
2) I will attempt to make the entries shorter than last semester (less than 1,000 words)
3) I want to build an interactive community through this blog to hear from you all as well
These goals will require some commitment, but I do think they're realistic. A tip of advice I always share whenever I'm talking about goal setting is to set goals through the S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) system. This system includes areas that are fact based while others are opinion based, but it's surely a great place to start.
Regardless of what you do in life, it's always best to, as Simon Sinek would say, start with why. Why are you doing that? Finding a purpose in everything you do will guide you along the way & make life a whole lot more enjoyable. Not only that, but once you give your life a true purpose, everything you enjoy doing will automatically be driven by your why.
I'll give you an example that will hopefully make a bit more sense out of this. My purpose in life is to leave my dent in the universe in absolutely everything I do. This simple sentence took me a long time to come up with & it's truly what drives me in everything I do every single day of my life: from playing soccer & writing this blog, to hosting my own podcast & pursuing a double major at the best public university in the world, amongst a couple of other things.
That's my why, but a purpose is meaningless unless you continuously apply it to your life. In his famous Ted Talk, Sinek goes on to present the Golden Circle which starts with why, continues with how, & ends with what. How we do things truly matters … a lot. It's what differentiates us! To continue my example: in everything I do, I look to be the person in my life that I once needed. So, my how is becoming the leader I once needed by celebrating amazing people, helping those that are struggling, & inspiring others to do the same. Once again, this how fits into anything I do, which gives everything I do daily a deeper meaning than it may appear to have for most.
So, what's the result from all of this? What's the final product? Well, the what can be anything, & that's the beauty of this Golden Circle. In this case, my what is this blog, but I have many what's in my life - at least for now - & they're all aligned with my why & how. Now that I have my S.M.A.R.T. goals to help me out (Specific: write a weekly blog for an entire semester; Measurable: there are 15 weeks in the semester; Attainable: you bet it is; Relevant: it clearly aligns with my Golden Circle; Time-based: weekly for 15 weeks), I'm ready to take on this challenge!
All of this serves as an analogy for what the team is currently experiencing. We didn't have a pre-season nor non-conference games in the spring, so having both now for the fall season is something we don't take for granted. This is the time to not only improve both individually & collectively, but to find out what this team is truly about: find our why, realize our how, & work towards our what throughout this season. This team has shown a lot of character in less than a month of being fully together, especially by the way that we've handled the obstacles that have been thrown our way. I truly can't wait to see what we'll produce as our what throughout this season.
- Set your goals through the S.M.A.R.T. system
- Start with why & discover what your Golden Circle is made up of (why, how, what)
- Apply it all to your life on a daily basis!
Whether you're one of my teammates, coaches/staff members, friends, relatives, or a Golden Bear fan, I highly recommend that you start off your season/semester by trying out these three things!
I'd love to hear from all of you & am definitely open to feedback! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me via DM on social media to let me know what you think of my blog, ask me any questions that you may have about Cal Soccer, the life of a student-athlete, or anything else, as well as what you'd like to read more about here. You can find me on Instagram as @FerAndraez
Until next time,
Fer Andrade, Cal M Soc #13