For Linda, who requested I write on this subject -
When I was in jr. high and high school I looked forward to practices for every sport every day. I was slightly lost without them. I didn’t know what people did with all their free time.
I wasn’t a stereo-typical teen in the sense that I had no desire to sit in my room and brood about the fact that the world wasn’t fair, boys didn’t like me, or that I didn’t have the latest fashion. I spent every single day talking to my parents and siblings. I adored school and I adored sports practices. The day of my last senior year volleyball game I remember sinking to the floor and sobbing. The season was over and everything was going to change. This is the first time I remember noticing the seasons of life.
Then, I became an adult. I got a job. My time available to play sports shrunk significantly. Then, I got married. My time shrunk again. And, then I had kids. I stopped playing all together. I missed it, but seldom had time to think about it. I had health issues that helped me gain a significant amount of weight and made losing it extremely difficult. But, all along I LOVED sports. I never stopped loving them just because I wasn’t able to play.
When the twins were born I heard about a volleyball league I could play in. I decided I’d go try it out. I was nervous. I was 10 years older, overweight, and hadn’t played. But, it was sorta like riding a bike. When I got there it just came back. I didn’t move as fast. My minimal vertical had basically disappeared. But, I had the basics. The fundamentals that I used to be annoyed my coaches were harping on – those were still there. And, I’ve been playing volleyball ever since. I found it difficult to play in the league with the people who were beginners. They didn’t even know the rules and were laughing like the sport was just for fun! And, the upper division were all young and fit. The guys were giants and spiking it so hard that if it hit me in the face there was a good chance I’d be knocked out. But, I’ve managed to play in both levels and figure out a balance. I’m not the best. But, I’m having fun and being active.
This year life has gotten in the way of our league. But, I intend to change that. I want to be able to play and enjoy my time. I refuse to stop being active. The good news is that I haven’t stopped completely. I’ve been coaching. When I leave practices I’m sweaty and disgusting. The girls probably think I’m old and crazy, but I don’t care. I love playing and I love being there teaching these girls to love it. The important thing I keep reminding myself about is that I don’t have to be the best. I don’t have to play at the level I did when I was 17 and 18. I just have to keep going. I have to keep myself moving. Sometimes that means I take baby steps and do the easy stuff. Sometimes that means I swallow my pride and do the hard stuff even though I’m positive everyone else around me thinks I’m ridiculous. It’s not about what they think. It’s about me doing something I love and trying my best to keep myself healthy despite health issues that make weight loss annoying, despite time crunches, despite french fries. I’m still going and I’m going to keep going.
If you feel like you are too old, too fat, too slow, too whatever – stop labeling yourself with things that do not help you. Start labeling yourself as things like tenacious, persistent, and hard working. Don’t waste your life hiding until you’re perfect for what you want to do. Do what you want until you’re the best you can be at it.