Camp Nou in Barcelona

By Alexandria Erin

Camp Nou


As we approached the stadium my heart raced. I had watched so many soccer matches as a child and young adult on the television, seen the soccer stars play at Camp Nou and dreamed of one day walking on the field and looking all around at the people staring down as if I too were a soccer star. A dream, among many, I had as a child was to go and watch a soccer match or better yet marry a man that ran onto the field and right before he begun looked at me and smiled. These silly dreams raced through my head as the bus stopped and our tour guide allowed for us to get off and start walking towards the stadium. As we waited for our ticket, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was dreaming or if this trip was real. In that moment it all became real for me; the plane ride to Germany, meeting so many new people, being overwhelmed every time I wanted to eat lunch or dinner, pre-port lectures, rocking back and forth while attending class – suddenly it was all real.

I was taken out of this fairy tale as I delved into listening and learning about everything our tour guide had to offer us. I almost didn’t notice we were about to walk out into the stadium except that someone tripped going up the stairs and I was forced back into my fairy tale as I looked out over the field in awe at the fact that I, Alexandria Erin, was in the Camp Nou stadium. Did you know that fairy tales are just stories that people make up until they actually allow their path to take them through that story? I didn’t either until I was standing right then and there in the soccer stadium I had dreamed of going to most of my life.

I did not realize we were going to be allowed to go down and stand on the sidelines of the actual field. My heart was racing as I walked over to the field and stood just inches away from where some of the most talented people in the world stood right before they ran on. I closed my eyes, put on my shin guards, then my socks, then my cleats and slowly but surly stood up; no one but myself, my eighth grade school soccer team, Coach Miller and the smell of grass surrounded me. Of course this sensation I created in my mind was from a time when I felt most alive right before I tore my ACL my freshman year of college. I rarely let myself go back to those moments, however, standing on the sidelines of a moment I knew would last forever, I let myself go to a place that brought so much pain yet so much joy and pretend it was real.

As we furthered our tour of Camp Nou my mind raced between all the information we were getting and my excitement of being there. Towards the end our tour guide allowed for us to walk through the museum by ourselves and meet at the bus at a certain time and place. As my friend and I begun to wander I quickly ran off to the bathroom. As I left the bathroom to go meet my friend back in the museum my chest was suddenly filled with so much pain.. I tried to fight the pain but couldn’t so I decided to analyze it. Where was this coming from? Why was this happening? Why was I crying? I realized it was from so long ago when I tore my ACL for the first time. I began to grieve my loss of being able to play soccer professionally. As I decided if I should stop it or not, I realized how healthy my grieving was. It was a loss that I was not ready to face until now. Thanks to Camp Nou I could finally face my pain and begin to unwind the grieving process that I was unable to go through all those years.

Now I am facing this pain one day at a time with the goal of unwinding it and using the energy to inspire me to find another way to let soccer back into my life after having to push it out so many times. After having had my minor head injury I thought I had to get rid of soccer all together, however, in my reflection from what happened at Camp Nou I realized I can’t give up soccer even though I’ve been told I cannot play. So I decided that I would coach. I’m not sure what age group or when, but one day I will continue my passion in a different direction than I had thought I ever would. I now have been practicing taking the pain I feel and have and directing it towards building up my passion and health to be a coach. In this I learned the importance, yet again, of taking a situation that inflicted so much pain and redirecting it into something that will allow for me to create joy not just for myself but for others as well. I have been forced to learn this lesson over and over again and at first I found it exhausting, until now. Now I realize this is what life is about due to life being so unpredictable. We must always look for how we can better not only ourselves, but others as well. By doing this we create for a better world and a more peaceful spirit for with in ourselves. 

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