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I Forgot How Much I Love a Good TEAM.

"Team. Team, team, team, team, team. I even love saying the word team." – Denholm Reynholm, The IT Crowd*

The unexpected excitement in my life these days is this: sports.

I am enjoying my twice weekly outing across town to lace up my cleats and run around for an hour, then trek home through the dark (and cold). That is an understatement. I am loving it. It is shaping up to be the highlight of my winter. I show off my bruises**, I grin on the subway, I lie in bed thinking about strategies.

It started in August, when perusing the Toronto Ultimate Club’s website…they were hosting a tournament in 3 days. A hat tournament. And they needed women. The beauty of a hat tournament is that the teams are completely mixed by the organizers, so signing up by myself was no big deal. Relatively. I showed up to Varsity Stadium, where a light rain was falling…I thought I’d hate the rain, but it turns out I’m becoming less of a whiny baby. Anyway, at some point in the day, our team was chatting and someone asked, "So, what teams are you guys playing on right now?" I said, "None, actually..." and by the end of the game, I had one. Two-ish, actually. So I've been playing every week since the end of the summer, and even though I'm the worst person on the team (I say this without malice or self-deprecation), I have fun EVERY WEEK.

And then my friend Aisling asked if I'd like to play soccer with her and I said HeckyesIwould! and we signed up and then the league got canceled and then we found another league that played at the exact same time in the exact same place and voila, we were in. And now on Sunday nights, I put on my shinpads and we run around and last night a guy accused me of fouling him because I successfully took the ball from him, and I felt proud of myself and when he came at me again, and this time I fell over, I rolled it out and got up and chased him down and took the ball again because that is how you play the game, dude. And I'm sorry that you got owned by a girl, but you did. And it's coming back to me, these long-dormant soccer skills, and I feel confident on the field, which is a strange feeling for me.

I wish I could go back to teenaged-Beth who took one sports-rejection very, very personally and tell her, Don't believe that lie that says you are no good! Just do your best and have FUN!

It may have taken me 15 years, but I am glad that I am at a place where I can be on a team and not be the best, and maybe even the worst, but know that it is okay and that everyone is not judging me and that I am my own worst critic and they like me even if I miss up. So I play, and we laugh, and even when we lose, I leave the field smiling.

Because TEAM. TEAM TEAM TEAM. When our soccer team scored our first goal of the season, I may have shouted, "TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAMWORK!" Team. It's a great thing. (Although I also really like winning.)


**at what point does one begin to be concerned about their bruises? If I come home with new bruises every game, but don't remember incurring significant hits, should I be concerned? Or am I just a bruiser?? I'm afraid to Google this, as my internet-diagnostic searches usually wind up telling me I have cancer.


Laura said…
You got hit with something. Don't freak out about bruises.
Beth said…
Laura, I KNEW I could count on you for some good old common sense :D

You should see the bruises though. Patches on my thigh, my shin, my do you bruise your WRIST playing soccer??
Lisa said…
Oooh, I love bruises! (I don't love getting them, but they are so interesting to look at once they're there! Insta-bruises are cool too.) Maybe it's genetic. I get lots too, and can never remember where they came from (and that's even when I'm NOT playing sports). I think it's worse when my iron is low - eat your greens and red meat! :)
Beth said…
Lisa - YES! Genetics and low iron are probably both factors... I routinely have a random bruise or two as well. But these days, I have groupings all over, and some definitely show up during a game, so I know it MUST have happened on the field :)

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