On Being a Utility Player

I have played soccer for 13 years now. At age 10, I started out as a goalie. My coaches experimented with where to put me on field–defender, sweeper, forward, striker, wing, midfield. I have played every single position there is to play on a soccer team. While my two favorites (and two best) are goalie and center-mid, I am what you would call a “utility player.” This means, I know what is expected of each position and I can do what is expected of each position. Not to toot my own horn, but this makes me an extremely valuable player.
However, being a utility player, though valuable in sports, isn’t that grand or desirable in talents/hobbies/skills. The reason being is that you don’t master anything!
But, that is what I am–a utility player of life.
A Utility Player of Life–Sports
I haven’t always played soccer. My parents thought it was important for me to try all different kinds of sports: ballet, jazz dance, t-ball, softball, basketball, field hockey. 
I found soccer when I was 10, and fell in love with it. It also helped that our county had a very strong rec league for soccer. Thus, I played two seasons every year and stayed with the same team until it was time to move to an older league. 
However, as I got into the high school age, our church really liked to play volleyball. So, I got into it. I tried out as a freshman–definitely didn’t make it. I kept practicing. I kept playing. I also tried out for soccer, but I was very sick during try-outs (sadly, this was to be a dark coincidence every year for soccer). My sophomore year, I transferred schools and wasn’t allowed to try out for any sport. But, I volunteered to be manager for volleyball. I learned the rules of the game, strategies, and technique. I tried out junior year, and the coaches said I could make JV, but the school’s policy didn’t allow Juniors on JV. So, I was head manager that year, practiced with the team, and even went to camps with the team. So, senior year, I was basically a walk-on to the Varsity team. I still played soccer at the same time.
Now, as a post-college kid, I still play soccer and volleyball all the time. I also run. I found running the summer after I graduated. I learned that I loved it. Although I have no desire to be a marathon runner like my dad, I do love running.
So, I still have 3 sports–volleyball, soccer, and running. I can’t ever choose between the three of them. And I will never play on a collegiate team or be a hard-core runner.
A Utility Player of Life–Hobbies and Talents
I have had too many hobbies to count! Reading and writing has always been there and will always be there. Although that past few years (due to my extraordinary work load in 3 jobs and getting a college degree with a 3.8 GPA) I have had very little time to do pleasure reading (fantasy and historical fiction) and writing. I do write besides my blog–poetry and fantasy. I can’t wait for the day I have more time for it. I see a lot of my other friends spend hours on end just writing and almost publishing books. Well, even though I won’t have to be doing homework or studying, my full-time job as an English teacher is not the type I can leave at work. Teaching is much more than just full-time. It takes up a lot of personal time at home as well–time I could be using to hone my writing skills or other hobbies and talents. And, I because of that, my writing talent (at least fiction and poetic) has diminished a bit.
When I was young, my sister and I were really into collecting rocks. So much that our mom even bought us a rock book. But, although I still like looking at rocks, I don’t care other than that.
I play video games. But, I will never be able to beat my hardcore gamer of a husband.
I cook. But I won’t be like professional cooking bloggers and I haven’t gone to culinary school.
I blog. (Even my blog is a utility blog–it’s definitely not a fashion blog, it’s not just a cooking blog, not a teaching blog, not a family blog, not a “hard issue” blog…it’s a “little-bit-of-everything” blog). I see advice on having 1 set of audience and a niche in your blog–a trend you typically write towards. I’m a utility blogger.
I watch TV. Hahaha. As if that helps me with anything. But then again, I know of the Bachelor bloggers and  I have a friend who is an Office addict and another who knows anything and everything on Star Wars. Nope. Can’t do that.
I organize and reorganize. But I don’t do DIY and I couldn’t base my blog around it.
I’ve attempted stitching, sewing (made half a doll’s dress), crocheting, and knitting. I just can’t get the hang of any of them (unlike my 13 year old sister).
I used to play violin and piano. One of my biggest regrets is that I quit. I can still tinker tunes out of them.
I speak Welsh–I can carry on a basic conversation, but I have a goal to be fluent. I just need to work towards that goal.
A Utility Player of Life–Religion
I am Mormon and that will never change. I love my church, and I love the Gospel. But, there are even niches in the Church I don’t belong too. I am definitely not the ideal Relief Society type woman–the perfect homemaker, crafter, cooker who will always create cute things for activities or being at your door the instant you are sick or pregnant. I am not a family history guru. I don’t have scriptures memorized. I am a not a constant temple goer (although I do go and I love every time I do). I am not a church history guru. I don’t play instruments or sing. But, I do love service, I love Relief Society, I love being in nursery, I love family history and reading the scriptures. I also love learning about other religions–not that I would ever convert–but I am curious to see how well they relate to Mormonism and how everything fits together!

A Utility Player of Life–Schooling
I consider myself a life-long learner. I love learning new things, I love discovering new places, reading new stories, exploring new cultures. Favorite subjects of mine have been: History (any and all), English/literature (any and all), Creative Writing, Journalism, Anthropology, World Music, Drama, Sociology, Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology, Geography, Spanish, and Welsh. As you can see, it was a tough decision to do a History Teaching major and English Teaching minor. I would’ve done a Social Sciences composite, allowing me to teach any and all social sciences, but having to take government/political science and economy classes wasn’t worth it at all. So, I am content for now. But, I do plan on going back and getting a Geography endorsement. I also want to go to Grad school, but I don’t know what for yet. These are some of my ideas: medieval history, Welsh history, Tudor history, Arthurian lore, European myth and legend, creative writing…too many options!

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As you can see, I am not a master in any one thing. Sometimes I wish I had a niche for myself: be the Etsy crafter creating jewelry or cute crochet items or printables, be the fashion blogger who works with Shabby Apple and Apricot Lane, be the writer who already has sent out inquiries, be the die-hard teacher who has sold lesson plans and planning binders, be the homemaker guru with organization tips and a couponing master, be the nomadic traveler who can photograph the world, be the star of a college sport team with a shot at the majors, be a performance-worthy instrumentalist who loves to give concerts. But, I am none of these because I want to be all of these.

That is one thing I wish for my children. I do want them to explore numerous options, yes, but I do want them to find their niche and prosper and grow in it. As for me, I guess my niche is the life-long learner, willing to try anything at least once, learn a bit of everything–a utility player.

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • I am right there with you Tayler! I have too many hobbies, too many things that I may not be GREAT at , but I'm GOOD at. I've yet to find that ONE thing.

  • I agree with Jenn and you! There are so many hobbies that I want to get better at but it's almost like there is not enough time in the day! I really want to learn to crochet but I am only able to make a giant knot!! 🙂

    Laura @ Mice In The Kitchen

    • I always fail every time I crochet. I can make an endless string, but when it comes to turning, nope.

  • Right there with you, too!
    There are several things I feel I'm pretty good at, but I'm certainly not great. I love to cook and bake, but often I have a lot of failed kitchen attempts. Sometimes I like to think I can create crafty things, and usually those craft items turn out OK.
    The one thing I *think* I'm pretty darn good at, though, is being a mom. It's about the only thing I can say I'm giving 110%. Even though I know I'm not a perfect, and constantly trying to be a better mom, I'm giving it my all.

    • I'm not a mom yet, but I hope I can be a great mom like you and all the other wonderful examples I have like my own mom and other blogging friends.

  • In other words, 'a jack of all trades and master of none'? Although that doesn't sound nearly as nice as the way you put it. I feel a lot like this in my lifestyle, too. There's nothing that I do that I'm really 100% good at and 100% passionate about. But there's also value in just having lots of different random useful skills!

    • And the thing is, utility players know what to do and are quick to do it…I'm a fast learner, so if you need me to do something, I will. Not as perfect as others, but enough to make do.

  • I love this post, Tayler, because I feel the same. I was fortunate that my parents let me try so many different sports and hobbies but I never felt I fully threw myself into any of them and I have some regrets. In recent years, time has become something I seriously needed to manage, and I found some priorities and finally focused on writing as more than a hobby but it took a while to get there. Still, I don't feel like I'm an expert at anything and I've never been obsessive about any one thing. In the mean-time being a life-long learner is important and having different skills will only benefit you. Life has a way of sorting itself, I hope. : )