There are stories where everything seems to be going according to plan. Realizing that you are living the life you always dreamed of living can be a part of that story. Kids dream big. So do grown-ups. For kids in sports, there is mostly only one dream that is worth chasing and that is playing for a team you admire. Consequently, not all dreams become reality and only a tiny amount of dreamers get the chance to live that long-dreamed dream.

Once you realize that what you do is exactly what you dreamed of everything seems to be easy and in a flow that no one and nothing dares to stop. Being in that flow makes you forget that some things might not work out as planned and there are things that can and will set you back. But those things happen – to everybody. Every game plan has the potential to be shaken up. It is what you make out of those setbacks that decide whether you let them tear you down or make you come back stronger.

Meet Rune Dahmke – a handballer at the top of his game

Rune has faced major setbacks - but they haven't stopped him from working even harder to achieve his goals.

Rune Dahmke is an-over-the-top example of how setbacks can actually make you come back a stronger person and let you grow from within. The 23-year-old Kiel handball player is one of those kids that fulfilled his childhood dream. He is one of the players that kids and peers look up to. Not only because of his immense skill on the court, but also because of his grounded character off it. But Rune – just like everybody else – has experienced setbacks and, when you are used to reaching your goals, those setbacks can hit you in the face harder than any handball will ever do.

For Rune, this setback was missing out on selection for the German Rio 2016 Olympics team. Frustration and anger were the understandable reactions. Bursting the bubble of the Olympic dream that every sportsman and woman is chasing is often perceived as the biggest setback one can experience. Knowing that you have not done anything wrong in particular makes things even worse.

Learning to accept the unexpected

So how can you possibly recover from that? How can you stand up and return stronger after being torn down that heavily? According to Rune, the first thing you have to do is realize that nothing can always work out perfectly.

Secondly, and most importantly says Rune, you have to keep on doing what you have always loved the most. And for Rune – as for most of you reading this article – it is sport: “In order not to let myself down I just kept on doing what I love the most – and that is playing handball.”

Make yourself irreplaceable

Rune's recipe for success is pretty simple - it's called 'hard work'.

Getting back on the court with the boys, throwing balls, lifting weights, sweating, giving all you have in order to become a better player. You have to work harder than ever in order to never let the question of being replaceable pop up again. It is that one big goal that keeps you going in times when you are doubting the things you are doing, although – to be honest – Rune never really doubts what he is doing. Because he loves it. With hard work and dedication, he managed to let the thing he loves the most become the thing he pays his bills with. The gratitude he feels for being able to live his dream keeps him going, more than ever. Without any doubt, we will see Rune entering the handball arena in Tokyo 2020 – stronger than ever, but still the grounded guy he has always been.

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