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Luis Díaz

Luis Díaz is a Premier League footballer who plays on the left wing for Liverpool FC. I saw him on a primary school playground in Birkenhead the other day. 

Admittedly, it didn’t look like him, but I knew it was him, nevertheless. See, he was wearing a replica football shirt with his name printed across the shoulders.

This Luis Díaz was a tad on the small side and evidently struggled to tie his laces. I wondered what Jürgen Klopp would make of it. No matter. In the same way that some people are comfortable in their own skin, Luis was ‘at one’ with his replica shirt. On the inside, he was fleet of foot and silky skilled. He was a playmaker and matchwinner. Luis was a global multimillion-pound superstar, adored by millions of fans worldwide. Currently, he was attempting to kick a flat football through a pair of coats (with limited success). This, of course, didn’t deter him in the slightest.

And so it shouldn’t. Because?

There was a time when even Luis Díaz (the real one) wasn’t Luis Díaz. Genetically speaking, he’s remained pretty much the same, but football-wise, he’s not always been superstar material. At some point, he will have needed help to tie his laces too.

I’m guessing a double knot isn’t actually in your job description. Most of us have done it though. It’s an example of ‘teaching-between-the-lines’. You step into that slightly hazy space where dreams are made but impact can’t be measured. Usually, children have one foot in an amazing future, the other in the ‘wrong’ wellington boot. This is called childhood.  The reality and the perception contrast significantly. But so does the present and the future.  You are the lynchpin that holds the two together. And they must be held together at all costs because you really can never tell what might be.

Wearing a replica shirt doesn’t make you fake. It means you’re aspirational. No one’s ever won anything without first being a wannabe.

Like it or not, you are coach, mentor and manager. And the rest. Half your daily responsibilities are invisible. Oh, and don’t forget the day job. Which makes you one of a kind.

Replica?  You are a true original.

Thank you.