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I am sitting down with ice on my legs as I write this. I am not tidying the house or carrying loads of laundry up and down the stairs because I simply cannot. Last night I played in my first soccer game...ever.
Registering the kids for various activities and schlepping them all over town to ballet, hockey, skating lessons, soccer, Sparks and Beavers (just to name a few) is something that I do with love. I make a concerted effort not to over-schedule our time, not only for the kids’ sake but for my own sanity. However, two activities each multiplied by three kids and a spouse who is often out of town makes mom a little nuts.
So I had a brilliant revelation: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Yes, I confess. I signed up for a Women’s Over 19 Soccer House League on the urging of a school-mom friend of mine. I bought my first pair of cleats (black with hot pink) and my first shinguards (also hot pink). I arrived early to pick up my uniform and surveyed the other players. Most of them looked just over 19 and I figured that I must be in the wrong spot. Thankfully I saw the more harried (and older) moms rushing in after the dinner rush at home. Phew! My jersey is navy blue with red trim and I managed to snag my favourite number: lucky number 7. I was all set.
On Sunday night, I arrived trepadatiously at the field in the cold wind and rain praying that someone might have the sense to cancel the game and give me a week’s reprieve. They did not. And even with my repeated “I have no idea what I am doing” and “I have never EVER played before” my teammates encouraged me and still put me on the field. My heart was pounding. I was afraid of the ball (not a good start), the other players and generally of embarrassing myself.
Thankfully all those hours spent on the sidelines cheering on my uniformed kids on the pitch has somewhat paid of. I think I played my position (after I figured out what that meant). There were a couple of times that my foot actually made contact with the ball and moved it in the general direction to which it was intended. No one yelled at me for being an idiot or told me to get off the field (hooray!). And best of all? I didn’t sustain any injuries to my creaky 40 year old body. (At least not that I know of yet.)
Our team ended up on the winning side at a score of 3-1. We were wet and cold and sore but it felt good. The feeling of camaraderie was palpable and I’m looking forward to my practice this week (and the promise of beers after our next game). Instead of sitting on the sidelines, it feels good to be doing something for myself even though adding two or three more items is seriously complicating our weekly schedule. Once I am able to regain full use of my legs I think that it will be worth it in the end, showing my kids that I have a life of my own and that we have some commonalities. My kids can probably teach me a thing or three about the beautiful game and I can’t wait.