Today is the Hawaiian hibiscus’, sunflower soul Melana Shim’s birthday. Awhile back, we ventured out to the Oregon Coast to surf. Mana’s a ripper, and I’m a Grade A wannabe, novice. But I was stoked because Mana told me she’d give me some pointers once we got out in the water. We paddled together past the break, and less than a minute later, Mana rode a wave into the shore like a princess galloping off into the distance. We never reunited in the water again, as Mana was fully engulfed in catching the biggest breaks, and I couldn’t keep up with Mana’s ravenous paddling. No hard feelings though, I became best buds with the whitewash.
Three and a half hours later, Mana came running out of the water, with a jack-o-lantern sized smile on her face. She apologized for losing track of time and said she invited some new friends over for a bonfire. I asked how they were going to come over. She pointed to her red board. The person’s phone number was etched into the front of it with wax.
Classic Mana, always living for connection. The people came over, and we indeed had wonderful conversation amongst a bonfire. This type of scenario is standard protocol for Mana, who claims she can tell from the first few minutes of interaction if she’ll vibe with the person.
Playing sports competitively, it’s so easy to get caught up in grinding and doing whatever it takes to reach our dreams. But, once our body breaks down or we decide we want to pursue other passions, we will only be left with the memories. And the ones we tend to remember, are the ones with strong emotional ties. Mostly involving other humans. And sometimes teammate’s dogs (shoutout to Christine’s Sinclairs dog, Charlie. Such a stud).
A few weeks ago, Mana made the choice to leave Thorns FC to pursue a opportunity to play in Sweden. This decision is difficult for any player, but especially for someone who cherishes relationships as much as Mana. But sometimes you gotta do the scary thing and take a leap of faith. In conjunction with chasing our dreams, we always have the choice to slow down and take in the in the sunflowers, the waves, the people.
For more Mana Shim:
Click HERE for an exclusive podcast interview.
Click HERE for an exclusive written interview.
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