Not every journey is planned.
This was not one of our traditional trips, but the path has been thoroughly enjoyed. The seven-hour time difference, flight delays, visible jet lag and weather sways did not hold us back. We wandered throughout the city among locals and tourists alike fully immersed and committed to a new experience.
Barcelona is a seaside wonder with insane architecture, beautiful people, lovely culture, world class food, cafe galore, motorcycles and of course, soccer! In between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains, there is so much to experience, and our short week allowed many sampling’s to be had.
JoJo had the privilege and honor to play at the Barça soccer academy over the Thanksgiving week. His invitation to Barcelona has been in the making for years. In some corner of his inner strength, he has been collecting emotions, bruises, scars, cleats, shin guards, outfits and several doctors’ visits. He has not tiptoed through this thing referred to as “futbol”.
His arrival was business as usual and his face resembled one of a stoic philosopher. It takes extraordinary toughness, stamina and skill to play and score a goal at the international level. His play did not disappoint, and his numerous goals only solidified his passion for the game.
Will it lead anywhere from here? In my book it already has. The process has far reached beyond his good physical health. Pride, honor, commitment, humility, adaptation, patience and sacrifice are just a few of the vital attributes which have been delivered through the years. The education of soccer and team transcends the win and loss column. The teachings will continue and help him in all facets of life.
As for Erin and I, this surreal week added more gray hairs, wrinkles, smiles (sometimes lack thereof), hoarse voices and the love of being parents. Friends, family, players, coaches, trainers and the good lord have all had a part in elevating his play beyond many imposing limitations. Resiliency is key.
During this time of Thanksgiving, I truly count my blessings. I understand life can change in an instant and thus we choose to live and dream. Fortunately, every now and then, a boy’s dream does come true.
Not having our entire family together during this week was difficult but the absence was only physical. Our loved ones are always in our hearts.
I remain grateful and thankful.