It’s been almost two months since we won the Danish Championship and I’ve had some time to reflect on our achievement. The season culminated in extraordinary fashion for everyone at FC Midtjylland so you might think I’ve been partying ever since. But that’s actually quite far from the truth.
I remember when we won our first championship in 2015 and how people around the club came up to me and said: ”Husk at nyde det” (Remember to enjoy it). What a strange thing to say, I thought. Of course I was going to enjoy it. But after hearing it again this year I’m starting to think that they might have a point.
I’ve learned that celebrating well is difficult. I don’t think I’ve properly enjoyed the fruits of our labour. I’ve not been celebrating the way I should be.
I was, of course, euphoric after the final whistle against Horsens. Laughing, singing and hugging anyone who came in my way. But after a while my feelings died down. I became less and less ecstatic. I thought to myself: Is this it?!
Don’t get me wrong, I felt fantastic. But it wasn’t like I was running around the neighbourhood with my medal around my neck for two weeks straight. It wasn’t like I was drinking champagne straight from the trophy at 9am in the morning.
I feel guilty, and a bit disappointed, that I’m not the kind of guy who can live in the moment and appreciate what he’s done. I mean, how often do you become champion? I started to think about the reasons for my subduedness and I think, without being an expert in psychology, I understand why I react the way I do.
I feel that it shows that I’m starting to find a balance in life. I’ve made some adjustments during the last five years that has made my life better. More meaningful. I’ve tried to build a more solid platform outside football which will hopefully ensure that I’m less affected by what happens at work. Basically it means that the thrills are not as extreme as you would maybe assume, which is a pity when winning a Danish Championship for example. But, on the other hand, it also means that the less good things in football, the injuries and the losing for example, doesn’t bring me down the way they once did.
An example to this could be the school stuff I do. During the last week of the season I had made plans with my teacher in Finland to do a Finnish language test the day after our last game. This would probably be considered weird. Why would anyone, knowing that a positive result will inevitably lead to a huge party that will go on long into the night, arrange an exam for the following day. But these are the little things that keep me sane. Win or lose, I still had to get my ass up in the morning and take that exam.
I also think it’s part of my personality. My mindset makes it impossible to rest on my laurels. I’m constantly aware that there are more games around the corner. I couldn’t really enjoy the party and the other festivities because I was already thinking about next season and making plans in my head. How can I get better? What can I do to help my team? I was also a bit stressed about the games I had coming up with Finland the following week and felt I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy the party too much.
Something that sums it up quite well is a situation when I got back from vacation. The first day back in training I got annoyed when someone came up to congratulate me on winning the championship. The kind man just wanted to show his appreciation but I just simply didn’t want to hear about it. What happened last season was old news.
I hope this can give you a glimpse of how I, and perhaps others, are wired. One day you’re a hero, the next a villain. Knowing that keeps me humble and hungry. Knowing that there’s a bunch of teams out there looking to take our place at the top makes it difficult for me to enjoy the moment, yes, but it also makes it easier to get myself mentally ready for a new season.