One in a series of first-person articles from athletes competing in the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne.
My name is Chris Fajardo and I play and coach the San Francisco Spikes. My voyage, which really should be considered an odyssey at this point, to Cologne has been an intense one. I, as many of my best friends from soccer will attest to, am a little obsessed with soccer. Soccer for me is more than just a sport or a way to express myself. Soccer lives in my soul, it is my passion, my world. It rings truer than many may ever know.
When I am on the field, the world around me feels so right. On long days at work I close my eyes and imagine the smell of the freshly cut grass in the brisk spring morning air, the tight leather shoes hugging my feet, and that moment as I watch the ball caress the back of the net. Soccer is more than just moments for me, if anything, the road to Cologne has taught me that.
For me, soccer is about my extended family -- my team. Mia Hamm once stated, “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” Cologne for me has been about sacrifice. The 2009 DC tournament for our team was, to put it simply, not fun. I had put such high expectations on it, that being knocked out in the first round was devastating. I may have only been a member of that team, but I took that loss as my own. I could see our potential, yet, I had no idea why it could not be unlocked.
My goal coming into this season is to bring out the champion within our team. I do not see a medal associated with this status. Do not get me wrong. I will be first in line to gladly accept a well-earned gold medal. However, my true goal has been to unlock the drive and determination in each of our players this season. To find the passion hidden within each of them, to make them yearn to grow, yearn to be better, and yearn to sacrifice themselves to help the team rise to a higher level.
In the end, I want to walk away from Cologne knowing that I sacrificed for my team all that I could. I want to know that I sweat every drop I could, bled every ounce I had, and I want to come home satisfied that my team, my family, put everything they have out there. Because the worst thing we can leave Europe with is thinking, what if. What if we ran more, trained harder, sprinted faster.
Looking to Cologne I want my team to know that impossible is nothing. We have risen from the ashes, transformed ourselves into a team to be reckoned with, and while only time will tell what the score boards may read, we can be for certain that we will have done everything we could to be the best team we can be.
This article was written by the athlete and sent to Outsports by Gay Games 2010. If you want to tell your story, send us an article and photo to: firstname.lastname@example.org.