Monday, August 11, 2014

About Soccer

Yesterday was my very last game in my Sunday summer soccer session.

I play in another league into the fall, but Sunday summer soccer is my absolute favorite. I love my teammates. I love that we get to play outdoors. I love that we have cute jerseys. I love that I can still hang with 18-year-olds who play college soccer. (I don't love doing the math and realizing that I'm quite nearly biologically old enough to be their mothers.)

That Sunday summer soccer is the soccer that I grew up playing. It's soccer for the sake of soccer, not for socializing, not for fun or for exercise. It's just pure soccer and it just kills me that we only play a few months out of the year.

Yesterday, I needed soccer because the three hours that I played were the only three hours in the day when I wasn't restless and irritated and completely stuck in my head. I played soccer and I felt like myself. I shook off everything that I'm carrying around for a few hours. I needed the break. I needed the exercise, too. (I forget sometimes that I'm pretty anxious if I'm not getting in a regular workout.)

It probably seems silly, this love affair that I have with this sport. I'm 31. There are more important things. I get why people think that way.

But I also can't understand why they don't feel the same.

Just last week, an acquaintance who is about to be a step-mom to a 7-year-old girl emailed me about finding a soccer league for the daughter to join. I stopped what I was doing and immediately sat down at my computer to search out what they were looking for. I sent her a list of options. The acquaintance didn't grow up playing a team sport and I'm not sure she has any idea how defining that participation can be and, though I resisted the urge to preach ("it's not about the sport," I can picture myself writing. "It's so much more than that.") I gave her more options than probably necessary. Because I think it's so important. I think it's so, so important.  

Along with the abundance of soccer information, I sent along links to Girls on the Run, which is a very sweet rah-rah girl power running program, and the local girls hockey program that I also know to be very empowering. Because it isn't about the sport. I don't care what that girl, who I've never even met, does. But I care that she does something. I care that every girl, every kid does something, be it soccer or hockey or cross country or figure skating or golf.

Because sometimes you grow up and you find out that you need teammates. Or you need a reason to exercise. Or you need three hours on a Sunday to temporarily lose what's weighing you down.

I simply cannot imagine my life without it. I can't picture myself without it.

It's just a sport. But it's also not just a sport.

3 comments:

Accidentally Me said...

"What are you passionate about?"

Sorry, couldn't resist:-)

A said...

HA! You're such a stinker.

Elliott said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I'm still like that about hockey in the winter and golf in the summer. I can still play both of them with most teenagers (who are my kids age).

I coached my middle daughter for 10 years of hockey. Couldn't agree with you more...any sport is empowering for girls and I think it's important they are part of a team (or in the case of my older daughter, a choir...same but different). And it's the reason I still coach 4 and 5 year olds...they need someone to help them discover the passion. Good for you for helping out.

 
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