Impossible isn’t a word : By Shubhankar Jain
Since I was six years old, I have been playing competitive soccer. Starting off as a small three and a half foot kid simply kicking the soccer ball in almost any direction, I have grown and developed my soccer skills to an extent that last year I played on my high school’s varsity soccer team as a sophomore. Along the journey of becoming the player that I am today, my dad always gave me tips and advice on how to become a better player. Sometimes, I listened to him and applied his tips to my games. Other times, I would completely disregard it thinking (as most teenagers may do) that he didn’t know about soccer enough to give me tips. I believed that I had surpassed his knowledge of becoming better.
One of the pieces of advice that my dad had given me when I was about 10 years old was to always take a shot no matter how far away from the goal I was. At that time, I used to be a defender in my team. I told him, “Daddy, defenders aren’t supposed to score. Defenders stop the other team from scoring. Why would I shoot as a defender? That’s the forward’s job. It’s impossible for a defender to score from a distance so far from the goal anyway.”
“That’s not true Shubhi-”
But I had stopped listening by then. In my rulebook, defenders couldn’t score. It was impossible.
At the same time, my autistic brother, Paras, was beginning to play soccer as well. In the Bay Area, there is a program: AYSO VIP soccer. This soccer program helps children with any special needs play soccer. It was Paras’ first day of soccer and he was excited to wear such unfamiliar clothing. On that Sunday afternoon, my dad had told me to come with them to go to Paras’ soccer practice. I went with them.
From the moment we arrived at the field, I was utterly amazed. Kids of all ages and abilities were playing soccer. Some needed help and volunteers were there to help them play. There were some kids who couldn’t stand without braces; there were some who were very hyperactive; there was even a kid who was blind. They all played soccer. I remember one kid, Bill. He couldn’t walk properly because he had braces, but he still managed to score two goals in the scrimmage that the players all had. These children were told from the day that they were born that they wouldn’t be able to do certain things. Some were told that they wouldn’t be able to stand up. Others were told they wouldn’t be able to sit down properly. Here, at this field, they defied that.
Even though I had referred to impossible in terms of such a small thing in life, a game, it was mostly a precedent set that things in my eyes could be impossible. These amazing children kicked out the word impossible from the dictionary. These kids taught me that nobody or no one can tell you what you can or cannot do. “You can’t” isn’t a phrase and impossible isn’t a word.