Posted by: Kayle | September 29, 2009

Soul Sport

Growing up, I wasn’t a triathlete. When I was younger, all I could think about, all I did, my entire identity was soccer. I absolutely loved it. I started playing at 5, then made a year-round competitive team at 10.  I followed the professional women’s team.  Michelle Aker (because she had a disease and played anyways) and Julie Foudy (defender what what!) were my heros.  One of the highlights of my  child hood was watching the ’99 World Cup in Washington D.C. I played until I burned myself out at 17, and then I didn’t touch a soccer ball all through college. After a while, I really started to miss it.

So, when my classmate, Elizabeth, asked me if I wanted to play on her coed team, I pretty much shouted “ya!” way too enthusiastically without really thinking about it. The games started before Labor Day but I haven’t been able to play because I’ve been so sick.  After getting these new meds from the doctor though, I’ve been feeling a million times better. So yesterday, for better or for worse, I played.

The entire day I felt charged with energy and anticipation. I couldn’t concentrate on therapy. After school I went to the store, got my jersey and some cheap shin guards, found my old cleats, scarfed down some dinner, did a breathing treatment and left my house entirely too early. I have no idea how fast I drove to the fields, but I got there fast. It was like I was a little kid. I was nervous about how my body would hold up (I still felt weak) and how I would play but I was thrilled about playing again.

When the rest of the team got to the field, the captain, Maggie, told me that I would be starting (starting? ah!) at left fullback.  I played defense growing up so I was pretty comfortable with that. We only had one sub so I had to play a lot (although I think I took the most rest time out of everyone).  I got winded easily, and my touch was way off, but I did it! I didn’t throw up, I didn’t collapse nor did I feel like I was going to collapse. I almost scored (too slow!) and I managed some halfway decent plays.  Our team ended up losing 3-2 but apparently those were the first 2 goals all season so everyone was happy.

I think though, the most important thing about last night was how it made me feel. I was on cloud 9. I can’t remember the last time I felt so happy so fulfilled. It’s like the part of me that was taken away over the summer was given back to me. I felt whole. It doesn’t matter that I could hardly walk today or that I sucked. I got to go to bed with that glorious feeling in my legs; the feeling you get after you know you’ve pushed yourself and were successful. I slept like a baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love triathlons and I still plan on getting back to them as soon as I can. Soccer is my medicine for the me that isn’t sick . Soccer is my soul’s sport.  I’m so happy to be playing again.

Carpe diem.

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