Pausch addresses several childhood dreams and how they impacted his life. Most he was able to achieve in some form, but he learned from all of them, realized or not.
Pausch dreamed of playing football in the NFL. This dream did not come to pass, but he learned how to work hard, how to struggle in spite of challenges and difficulties, and how to overcome obstacles while working toward a goal from his football coaches.
Pausch dreamed of experiencing the weightlessness of being in outer space. His work with creating virtual reality environments led to creation of a situation in which weightlessness could be simulated, but it appeared at first that he would not be allowed to accompany his students in their experience of that setting. By resigning as their instructor and getting a job as a reporter covering their story, Pausch was able to join them in feeling zero gravity.
Pausch dreamed of being Captain Kirk of the Star Trek series. While he never became the fictional character, he did have the opportunity to meet William Shatner, the actor who portrayed Captain Kirk, and did visit the Star Trek set. As another byproduct of his work with virtual reality simulation, Pausch was able to spend time working for Disney as an imagineer at Disney World.
In the final analysis, Pausch achieved his childhood dreams by refusing to accept roadblocks in his path. He accepted them as challenges and found ways around them, always focussed on the ultimate goal.