From Ball Boy to Ballon d’Or : Confidence in Challenges

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Fabio Cannavaro has helped to define the face of Italian soccer. He started his career with Napoli as a ball boy, retrieving and fetching balls for the actual players on the club team.  He went from being the ball boy when he first arrived in Napoli, to a member of the youth academy team, to being called up to train with the Premier team to then starting for the top team in Italy.  Cannavaro has had many successes in his career, from starting on the best team in Italy to captaining the World Cup winning Italian national team in 2006. Despite these successes, he views his success at the highest level differently than most. He views his success not by the titles, accolades and wins he achieves as a player, but by the confidence he has gained over the course of his career.

The biggest piece of wisdom I gained from Cannavaro in this article is that confidence is not gained through physical success but through the moments, opponents and teammates who challenge you the most. The challenges and hurdles one will face allows for you to grow as an individual and a competitor and gain confidence through those challenges.

As an athlete, everyone encounters highs and lows; from one extreme to another.  Success in our sports and our lives are not possible if we do not undergo some sort of hardship in order to achieve those successes.  Whether it be the coach that won’t get off our back, the play we can’t seem to understand or that loss that hurts us to the core are not just moments in time that opposed us an presented a challenge to us, these are all building blocks for our lives.  They present us an opportunity to learn and grow in the face of opposition.  Through that opposition we are presented with one of two possible solutions. To either give us, or find a way to win.  Athletics set us up for success for the rest of our lives by showing us how to handle adversity by never backing down and taking no as an answer.  Through the constant refusal to back down, the constant overcoming of challenges allow for us to gain confidence in ourselves and our own abilities.  The confidence that is learned and gained on the playing field does not just stick with us there, those teachings transcend into other areas of our life. In our relationships by finding ways to keep up with and spend time with the ones we love.  In our professional lives by already being exposed to adversity and the ability to not take no as an answer and constantly improve.  Confidence is not just something that is learned on the playing field, but it is something that creeps into all facets of our lives and will continue to show us how to succeed for the rest of our lives.

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