I move because ... it makes me a better person physically and emotionally.
Last year I started playing soccer for the first time. I turn 40 this year so starting a new sport at my age is a bit of an unusual thing. Why did I start? I guess things just lined up the right way. Last year, my fourth and youngest child started kindy (‘me’ time again after 11 years), my GP told me my cholesterol levels were a bit high, and there were a few girlfriends and sisters of my kids’ soccer club’s senior men’s team who were asking about putting together a senior women’s team. At the same time, another group asked me, as our soccer club president, about putting in a senior women’s team into a new locally played competition (rather than a competition that involved more travel). Suddenly, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I could?’ Some of the other mums from my eldest’s soccer team were thinking the same thing. And so our Rubies soccer team was born, made up of a couple of late teens and a bunch of 30-years and older mums, half of whom had never kicked a ball before apart from in the backyard with our kids.
For me, this felt like a tipping point. I could keep on being the traditional mum and enable my kids to play sport (managing, bringing fruit etc) or I could take it up to the next level and become a player. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional role (let’s face it, local sport runs on volunteer parents) but I felt like this might be my last chance to change my own notion of what I was capable of. I remember sitting with my sister-in-law at a coffee shop on that first kindy morning for the last kid (freedom!) and talking about playing soccer. ‘Are you kidding?’ she said. ‘Nope, and you should join too. What’s the worst that could happen? We hate it and give it up at the end of the season.’ Well, we didn’t look back and we have now finished our second season!
What do I love most? I love the headspace I get at training and the games. No cries of ‘Mum’! (Well, not many). I love the chatting at training as we practise passes and traps (sorry coach!). I love finding the confidence in what my body can do again. After years of being the ‘stable mum’, the ‘bring-oranges mum’, and the ‘slowly-inch-my-way-down-the-hill-while-the-kids-run-down mum’, I feel confident to run and not fall over again. And I love the sweaty fabulous feeling I get after knowing I’ve really pushed myself for an hour or so. And for me, there’s more reason to push. I want that ball! I couldn’t get into running by myself or going to the gym. But I’ll happily chase the ball for an hour. Now the main soccer season is over, I’ve signed up for an over-35s off-season five-a-side soccer competition. Playing sport makes me a better mum (for all my comments of finding freedom when the last one went to kindy and then school, I love them to bits), a better wife (I feel like I have some dedicated free time, which makes me a nicer person to be around) and definitely a healthier person.
If you haven’t played sport for years and are finding the gym isn’t for you, why not give a team sport a go. As a club president, I know we’re always after extras so don’t think that teams are already full. In senior teams, the more you have the better. There’s always some kids birthday party or chicken pox stopping one player from being able to be there. Just google the sport you’re interested in and find something local (the closest it is, the easier it is). Or pop onto your school’s Facebook and see what other mums are doing. You’d be surprised the number who are playing indoor sports on a school morning. Don’t wait! Start playing now.