Yesterday, I found a book that changed my life seven years ago.
To find the out-of-print book in a library in a city that I don't live in brought quite a smile to my face.
(As an unrelated aside, it's probably a good idea for me to smile more having being told by around eight people after a mass staring contest last week that my expressionless staring face is SO good I can probably land the lead role in the West End version of American Psycho.)
Anyway, the book was about Michael Jordan's sports career.
The bit of the book that particularly moved me was a part on a special clause he had drawn into his contract with the Chicago Bulls.
When pro basketballers want to play basketball outside of the watch of their team, they are bound by their contracts to ask their 'owners' for permission. I'm guessing this is only granted in exceptional circumstances.
This was unacceptable to Jordan. He loved the game and wanted to play whenever he could.
If he was walking past a street game he fancied involving himself in, he believed he should be allowed to.
Jordan was the first player ever to have a clause drawn into his contract that allowed him to play wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted.
It was called the "For the love of the game" Clause.
He took a pay cut to put this in the contract...
and went on to be the greatest basketball player of all time.
This shaped my own journey into sports.
The project I took part in that you may know as "The Beautiful Aim" was initially called "For The Love Of The Game" and was only changed on the advice of a TV production company on the grounds I may find it easier to attract funding with a different name.
But here's the thing.
I changed it for the increased odds of getting funded.
I ended up making many compromises, some out of necessity and others out of choice.
I ended up jumping through a fair few hoops trying to do what I'd set out to achieve.
For large chunks of my two year journey, I'd forgotten about my love of the game I was so intent on mastering.
I turned it into a grind rather than a joy.
I still got pretty close to achieving what I wanted before injuring myself but it would have been so much easier with that love still clear in my head and heart.
I don't know what you do your sport for.
Maybe it's love. Maybe it's something else.
Whatever it is, is it clear to you?
Is it still a part of your practise and play on a regular basis?
We learn best and perform best when we are as free as possible from tension.
Love, enjoyment or whatever that thing is that has you hooked into your game is probably as far away from tension as you can get.
Keep what you play for very clear.
It will guide you even through the hardest times.
Arton "For The Love Of The Game" Baleci