20 minutes to go. We were underdogs but found ourselves a point up against favourites Galway in the final. If we held out we would be the first Sligo team in 32 years to win the Connacht Championship. Our talisman, goalscorer and my partner in midfield had just left the field injured and I heard a roar from the crowd – ‘Quinn you better step up to the plate’.
I was reminded of this day when I read a story about Elton John recently. He had been asked to sing a brand new, reworked version of Candle in the Wind at the funeral of Princess Diana in front of a global audience of 2billion people, and he was freaking out. Worried that he would sing the other version, the version he had sung all his life, the version about Marilyn Monroe being found dead in the nude, the version that was completely inappropriate for a state funeral, especially the biggest state funeral Great Britain had ever seen.
But then he thought of a time early in his career when he was told at short notice that he would be duetting with Ray Charles on a TV show.
Ray Charles! One of his childhood heroes.
But he managed it. How? By telling himself – ‘this is what I do. This is what I am here for. This is what I have always wanted. Dig deep and do it’.
And he did, both times.
And that’s the thing. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations which are way out of our comfort zone. Playing with a musician you have always looked up to. Being asked to play in public for the first time. Stepping in last minute to replace somebody. Trying to help your team to an historic victory in the biggest game of your life.
And you won’t always win. You won’t always play all the right notes. But if you don’t try you will never know. And you will miss out on some serious learning.
Step up to the plate.