A few years ago I read Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers. In it, he talks about how most of the elite hockey players in Canada are born in the first half of the year, a huge amount in the first three months. When kids are little and join sports teams that are chosen based on birth year, the ones born earlier in the year are bigger and faster and more mature (some by almost 12 months). Over time, the younger ones don't make the good teams, and end up training at a lower level with inferior coaches, thereby exacerbating the gap between them and the older kids. Eventually they are weeded out of the game. I saw this phenomenon first hand, though I didn't realize it at the time. I was born in early November and was almost always the youngest person on my regional ODP team. I distinctly remember one year that there was only one girl younger than me, born at the end of December. This did nothing to help my "cool" quotient, not to mention the height differential between me and the other goalkeepers.
What I did have, however, was parents who continued to pay for me to play until I caught up. Even more importantly, they (and many others) believed that I could and would catch up if I tried hard enough.
Simply put, they kept me in the game.
What I've come to appreciate more than ever recently is that we all have people who keep us in the game.