Have you ever thought "Gee I used to love doing ______ but it's been so long I guess it's all just a fond memory now."? I did that with soccer. I haven't played soccer in over 13 years. I loved playing soccer, in fact I loved soccer so much I coached both my sons soccer teams for a total of 9 years but I got busy and I stopped playing. After all there is only so much time in the day to get everything done that needs doing.
I'm not sure if it was New Years or where I am in my life or what but I decided that playing soccer again sounded like a FINE idea. Keep in mind at almost 46 I'm not quite as young as I used to be..... I'm not old by a long shot just not quite as young! Actually I really wanted to push myself as I only do when I play on a team. I just don't push myself nearly as hard when left to my own devices. I passionately believe that fitness should be fun. Period. If it's not fun then I'm doing something wrong.
I went online to find a team that would have a spot for a rusty, aging soccer mom. I signed up on a soccer site that matches players and teams, sent out a couple of emails and then sat back and hoped that someone would take pity on me and let me play. It really reminded me of elementary school and choosing teams at recess and all those feelings of insecurity came rushing back. What if no one picks me, what if they're mean, what if I *GASP* suck!?!?!
Well the great thing about being a woman is co-ed teams usually need women players so there is always room. Whew! one hurdle down... I was invited to come and be a sub for a team for their Monday night game and I said yes. Of course this is after I thought of all sorts of reasons why I couldn't. I got new cleats - my oldest son borrowed my cleats one season and they didn't survive the punishment - borrowed his shin guards and his soccer bag and off I went to play my first game.
I have to admit that I was pretty nervous, I mean I don't know any of the players, I haven't played in over 13 years remember AND I have an ego. I told myself that the people on the team were probably super nice and that as long as I didn't suck I could call it a success. Well lo and behold I didn't suck and the people were nice! Okay starting off with a win! I was expecting to be pretty sore the next day and was pleasantly surprised with only having a sore left glute. It made sense that my left glute hurt due to the injury I had last Spring that involved a walking boot cast for 8 weeks. I discovered a muscle imbalance that I wasn't aware of which is awesome because now I can work on balancing it out. I know - only a trainer would think like that!
I had so much fun on Monday night that I decided that I would play with another team on Wednesday night. Again everyone was super nice and the big time win was that I relaxed and just focused on playing hard and having fun. I was able to let go of my self doubts and fears and just play. I made some great plays, I missed some opportunities and did my best. We were short women players so myself and two other women ran both 45 minute halves for a total of an hour and a half run workout! I can't remember the last time that I really pushed myself that hard for that long. It made me hungry for more!
I had forgotten how important playing was. Moving for the sheer joy of moving and moving because I CAN move. It's easy to get caught up in day to day living and forget to really push ourselves and challenge ourselves, to take ourselves out of our comfort zone and try new things or start doing things again that we used to love but haven't done for years.
When was the last time that you stepped out of your comfort zone? When was the last time that you tried something new? When was the last time that you really pushed yourself as hard as you possibly could? When was the last time that you did something that you used to love doing?
I love soccer because it is a non contact sport, it takes teamwork to succeed, it's challenging, you need minimal equipment, it's great exercise, I get to play outside and it's FUN! Oh and you can play it at any age. What's YOUR soccer? It is scary to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new but it is always worth the risk even if it's only to discover that it's not for you. I remind myself that nothing ventured nothing gained.
I challenge you to go out and find your version of soccer. It could be playing a musical instrument, taking a cooking class, trying a new sport or taking dance lessons. It could even be doing your first triathlon - who knows! It's important to spend time doing something that you love thats sole purpose is to fill YOU up. After all if we don't take care of ourselves who will?
To quote brilliant lyrics - You're a Rock Star - Get your game on GO PLAY!
To your Health and Wellness,
Jennifer Malocha CEO of Fun at Wuhoo Fitness