Joseph Cannon #1
Hometown: Los Altos Hills, CA.
College: Santa Clara University
I remember it was a cold and wet December day and it was our high
school's biggest games of the year. I was a junior and the starting goalkeeper for the St. Francis Lancers (Mountain View, Ca). We were playing the Matadors of Monta Vista High School. There were several players from my club soccer team playing for both sides, so this promised to be a great match-up. To make matters more exciting for me personally, the Monta Vista goalkeeper also was the other goalkeeper for my club team. Today was my day to prove to people that I was better.
The score was 0-0 and we had just shot the ball into the other goalie's
arms. He took four steps and then punted the ball high into the air. I
began to yell at my defense to clear the ball. The powerful kick sailed
far before one of our defenders completely missed the header. The ball hit the ground 30 yards out, then proceeded to skip off the wet field and over my head. My heart sunk as I turned around hoping the ball had gone over the crossbar. It had not. I was devastated. Not only had I given up a goal in a big game, but it was the most embarrassing type of goal a keeper could give up. I lost my head, couldn't focus and the rest of the day was a blur.
We lost the game 3-0 and all I could think about was that one goal. I
questioned whether I wanted to play soccer anymore asking myself, "How
could this happen to me? I've worked so hard to try and be better than this other goalie, and then he scores on me. Is this a sign? Should I quit soccer? How can I come back from such an embarrassing goal?"
Although I have won many awards and honors as a youth soccer player,
this one event still remains the most significant. It was on this day that I learned a lesson, not only valuable in soccer, but valuable in life. No matter how hard you work at something, no matter how hard you practice, there are times when things just won't go your way. This was a big lesson for an insecure high school junior. It is the one lesson that has helped me maintain my focus and stay positive. To this day, I remember thinking to myself that there was no direction but up after that ball went into the net.
I should have stayed focused and worried about the next ball instead of
thinking about my mistake and just wanting to hide my face from the crowd. Last year playing in El Paso, one of the forwards scored a 70-yard goal over my head to give his team a 2-0 lead. I remembered what I had learned in high school and stayed focused. I ended up making some big saves in the second half and my team eventually came back to win 4-2. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of the past, I focused on what I needed to do in the future to help my team.
This way of thinking is critical for everyone. Many times in our lives
we are put down by others, picked on, embarrassed, and made to think that we are not as "good" as we think we are. We come away feeling down, dwelling on what was said, rather than forgetting it and focusing on the future. I have learned things will happen which hurt our pride and confidence. We need to remember to stay focused and do things which will help us achieve our goals in the future. Whether it's with family or friends or in a soccer game, we must all remember that every day won't be our best. To help me survive the tough times, I remember a quote Pete Sampras has been credited with. He said, "You have your good days and you have your bad days. You just hope that your good days come on game days." When I heard that the number one tennis player in the world acknowledged that he too had his bad days, then Joe Cannon was allowed to have a couple as well.
I have become who I am today by living this philosophy. I don't let
obstacles become problems. Instead, I see them as challenges. I
remember my mistakes and learn from them. I give all I can in practice and let the games take care of themselves. There is nothing more one can do than to prepare. Eating right, proper rest, and a good work ethic in practice are the keys to preparing for a game. I try to prepare myself the best I know how and hope that it is enough to help my team win.
The road to San Jose has been a long one for me and it is full of some
of the worst goals a keeper could give up. Don't be afraid of mistakes and don't be afraid to fail. There is no such thing as failure, if you never give up. Success is just getting up one more time than you fell down. Mistakes are a part of life in general, get use to them. I sure have. This is why we can learn from our teachers, our parents, and the older members of our society. As kids, we forget that these role models were once in our shoes. Listen to them. If you can learn from others mistakes as well as your own, your growth as a person and a player will rapidly increase.
My suggestion to everyone, soccer players and non-soccer players alike,
is to go out and make mistakes. It is the only way you will truly get
better. Learn from these mistakes and move on. Your friends, family, and coaches will support you on whatever path to you choose to take in life. Remember to not only take their support, but to lend yours to others as they pursue their goals.
I want to wish the people of San Jose, aspiring Earthquakes, and the
families and friends who support them, good luck and a happy holiday
season. Enjoy the off season and we'll see you at Spartan for Soccer 2000!