No tears, no injuries!

Sunday I got to ride about 80 km with Sam, Sarah and David. It felt pretty good and we ran into lots of cyclists on the road. We ate yummy food. It was under 30 C so it felt fresh and lovely. 

No tears on the side of the road! Yay!


Mid-week Sam offered to hand me down cycling bibs and shorts that were too big for her. They fit great and helped round out my gear for the bike rally. 

Thursday I played soccer and while we lost 4-6 it was a great game. We had good attendance so even got subs. Everyone brought extras since it was quite hot. I felt good and didn’t get injured. Wahoo!

I’ve signed up for the MEC 100 km Sunday. It took me 6 hours last year with stops and a moving average of 19 km/hr. I’m hoping for 5 to 5 1/2 this year. I’ll keep you posted!

Have your friends talked to you about soccer?


Sunday while sitting in Susan’s hot tub after a grueling hot hilly ride Sam turned to me and said “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about soccer.” All eyes shift to me and David laughingly says “Soccer intervention!”

I had been struggling with my right calf after pulling it the week before in soccer. It slowed me down and triggered cramping. Not fun.

Sam went on to explain how things had gone with her knee (read more here). To put it shortly:

Akido-yes!

Cycling-absolutely!

Running-we can work with that!

Soccer-have you thought about quitting that?

I can’t remember what Sarah and Susan said but Cate asked me about injury rates on my current team.

They are high and someone does get hurt every week. It’s one of the problems of mixing skilled and unskilled players together. The poorly skilled are likely to hurt themselves and others.

Sarah pointed out that skilled players are more precise. Sam offered they manovre the ball away rather than whack at you.

Cate mentioned she felt the same way about downhill skiing, fun but too high an injury price to pay.

It did get me thinking. I had hoped I’d adapt to the sudden starts and stops. Sam offered that one never gets adapted to that.

I couldn’t play this week as I still can’t run on my calf. It’s too bad, I do enjoy the camaraderie and teamwork.

I’m not sure that I will sign up next season. What about you? Are there some sports or activities you deem too risky to do?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Accepting the tentacle of friendship a.k.a. Saying ‘yes’ to soccer

My workplace announced this week we are having a soccer league this summer. A couple colleagues popped by my desk to ask me if I wanted to be on thier team. I scoffed. I said that I wasn’t very good at soccer and declined, assuring them all I would do is catch the ball with my face. 

The next day I realized I had made a mistake, these lovely folks had asked me to play with them. I am able to run and kick. It occurred to me the youngest players will be 21 years old. Most will be clustered around 30. I was worried  I’d be too old. My partner laughed and reminded me I’m 41, I keep forgetting!

I’m at my best surrounded by people and having fun, what better way to get to know some folks I work with a bit better?

It’s co-ed teams playing full field outdoor soccer. I’m thinking I’ll want to ramp up my running until the season starts in May. 

Here’s hoping I have fun, make some friends and get a smidge of exercise. 

  

Celebrating the athlete you are now!

Like many of my friends I’ve been taken with the idea of minimizing, of owning less. It’s a rich person’s task, I know. I’ve been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. She dubs her technique the KonMarie method. If you’re interested in tidying, and in organizing, you’ve likely heard of it.

I have a house stuffed to the gills with belongings and I want to own less of it all. Mostly it’s not my stuff and it’s the teens and twenty something’s stuff that gets to me. I’ve tried to persuade them that our continued happiness all living together depends on them treating it more like a rooming house, where your stuff stays in your room, but in a three story house there’s a certain inertia to stuff staying on the first floor.

But I’m doing my bit. Most of my excess stuff falls into three categories: aspirational clothing (not too small, not aspirational in that sense, but aspirational for a lifestyle I don’t have, lots of party dresses, not enough parties), sporting goods, and books. I’m keeping the party dresses and asking for more parties, and the books? Well, I’m a professor and we’re a family of big readers so most of the books stay. But the sporting goods for sports I no longer do? They’re going.

Key to the KonMarie method is the idea that you should get rid of things that don’t bring you joy and that you should celebrate who you are today.

Here’s her advice about the clothes you should ditch:

“I’m not talking clothes that are a little tight, or things that you might be able to wear if you lost five pounds. I mean clothing that you’re hanging onto from years and years and years ago, that you would need a whole new body type to wear. Getting rid of old things is a part of making peace with who you are now.”

“Keeping only what sparks joy helps you realize who you are right now. As you’re saying no to certain clothes that don’t spark joy, you’re also often shedding what and who you were — or who you thought you wanted to be. You get a stronger sense of and appreciation for who you are. It’s a healthy exercise in self-reflection and a gentle but powerful letting go of the past.”

I warmed right away to the “joy test” and the idea of celebrating who you are now.

The athlete I am now doesn’t play soccer. I’ve said goodbye to soccer.

So bye bye soccer cleats and shin pads and socks. Bye bye soccer ball.

A friend who used to row competitively let go of some of her old lists of rowing contacts. She realized she was already still keeping in touch with the people who had remained friends.

I’ve got a full bureau of cycling stuff with my helmet, shoes, and Garmin on the top. That stuff brings me joy, though I did weed out some cycling jerseys, so it (mostly) stays.

Can you let go of the athlete you once were and celebrate the athlete you are now? If you did, what you let go of and what would you keep?

Soccer with A Twist (Guest Post)

by Sarah Rayner

Bubble Soccer What a Blast! This past Sunday my soccer team Poise had the opportunity to be a part of the first ever London Bubble Soccer Tournament.

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I went into this tournament having some soccer skills but not knowing what to expect. The organizer from KnockOutStigma called all of the captains a few days before the tournament to assure us it would be “good clean fun” and there was not much chance of injury being wrapped in a bubble. This made me feel a lot better!
I was pretty nervous thinking we would be the oldest team of all the women’s team but to my surprise we weren’t…we actually saw a lot of familiar faces on the field.

It was four on four 30 minute games which was pretty exhausting running with inflated bubbles on, but we played hard…we won 2 and lost 2 games. It was a highly energized, well organized event ant I would like to thank KnockOut for being able to scratch Bubble Soccer off my bucket list.

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I will be participating in Knock Out events again for sure.

Check them out on Facebook or website www.knockoutstigma.ca
They have a great mission to knockout stigma with LGBTQ athletes and their straight allies.

Here’s some outdoor bubble soccer videos:

And Sam’s post about bubble soccer: Bubble soccer!

My Love-Hate Relationship with Co-ed Team Sports (Guest post)

The blogger in her early days playing coed team sports with her elementary school

The blogger in her early days playing coed team sports with her elementary school

Spring!!! As soon as I see the first patch of grass, I’m itching to get out and play… soccer, basketball, ultimate, football, I’m up for whatever. These past few summers, I’ve been playing pick-up soccer with a meetup group… They’re awesome, super well organized, they meet three times a week, and there’s usually a pretty good turnout. But, despite my eagerness to get out and kick a ball around (finally!), there’s also a part of me that’s hesitant to head out and play. And, really, if I’m going to be honest, a big part of what’s keeping me away is the worry that by the end of the game, I’ll feel upset. There’s a bitterness that tends to well up in me when I’m playing co-ed team sports; a sort of dense multi-layered sludge that keeps on giving, even once the game is over.

Here’s how it goes: I show up and notice how few women there are, if any. We start playing, and I quickly pick-up on this pattern where I’m often not covered and still rarely get the ball. It’s like I don’t exist. And when they do interact with me, the guys feel like they can coach me, like give me “helpful” hints. I get this feeling like my calling for the ball (“I’M WIDE OPEN!!”) is just seen as obnoxious, especially if I get at all insistent, after the fifth missed opportunity. Then, when I finally get the ball, I feel like I have something to prove. And, I might make a good play, which is nice, or, I might mess up, which is less nice, and leads to the confirmation that I’m not a reliable player, even though everyone messes up now and then. “All this because I’m a woman”, I privately fume.

But, then, this immediate sort of frustration gets processed through self-doubt and self-reflection: Am I really getting the ball less often than I would if I were a man?  Maybe, the other players have just played together for a while and have a good rapport… Maybe I’m not as good as I think I am… Maybe they’re just not that good and aren’t aware of good passing opportunities… I’m probably just being oversensitive… And, if playing co-ed sports makes me so upset, why do I insist on participating and putting myself through these unpleasant feelings, and possibly even making the game less fun for the others… Why can’t I just get over it and have fun?

As a counter to this self-doubt comes the dredging up of the past. While, it may be that I am being over-sensitive in this particular case, I have reasons for being watchful for cases of differential treatment. Ever since I can remember, I have been treated differently in team sports. Early on, boys (uncensored, as kids will be) voiced their prejudices about not wanting girls to play, or not accepting that girls could be better than them. It often took adult intervention for them to take me seriously, such as a coach telling the boys to pass the ball to me because I was a good player. And, in my grown up years, I’ve experienced the more obvious type of discrimination in leagues that require teams to have a certain number of women on the field. The gameplay can sometimes become centered around the men, and the women become human pylons.

Finally, there comes the meta-frustration, or, anger at “the system”. I consistently get the message that women and men are not on equal footing when it comes to team sports. For one, when I’m paying attention, I notice a near absence of women in pickup sports. Also, women can be given conditions that make a sport “easier” (if not easier, just different) for them, such as a smaller ball in basketball, lower volleyball nets, shorter matches in tennis, no tackle football games… or, remember girls’ push-ups in high school?  And, truth be told, I know that even I perceive women and men differently on the field. All this just leaves me in a funk, thinking about how pervasive and entrenched these systematic divisions are.

But, then this weird thing happens, where I remember that, sure, sometimes I end up feeling pretty down after playing co-ed team sports, but, still, there are other times, where I meet awesome people who both play hard and encourage each other. And there’s this added bonus where I get to be a woman playing pick-up sports, which changes things just a bit. So, this weekend, I’m going to play soccer with the meetup group, and, damn it, I will have fun running my guts out, trying to set up good plays, and generally just letting my aggressive and competitive spirit run loose.

 

Jeanne-Marie just got her MA in philosophy at Tufts University, and is now giving computer science a go. She loves team sports (all of them), biking, swimming, and has not yet learned to love running.

Indoor soccer season begins!

soccerI was away at a conference this past weekend, the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy conference hosted at Trent University. Kate Norlock who blogged here about falling in love with cycling was the organizer. Tracy and I were both on the program. She was the keynote speaking about dieting, food ideology, and food security.

I was on the program giving a talk with Kristin Rodier, “Fat Stigma in the Philosophy Classroom”. She’s also blogged here with me.

It was a great conference and the only bad thing is that I missed soccer, our second indoor game of the season.

I love women’s recreational soccer. I love that most of us only started playing as adults having learned the rules by watching our kids play and thinking it looked fun. Hey, we can do that! And now we do.

I love that these are women I know through church and school and now we all play on this team together and we’ve added friends from our respective workplaces and from the neighborhood.

We’re very supportive of one another, giving each other advice and tips about how to improve our play.

I also love the names. As I’ve noted before, nothing screams middle aged women playing soccer quite like the team names. Our first game was against the Chocolate Martinis. Later we’ll get to play Cougar Town, and the Ball Breakers, I have a new favorite team name in our league, Midfield Crisis.

We’re the Rockettes.

Our first game was a nice reintroduction to the world of indoor soccer. We’re pretty evenly matched against the Martinis and they’re a nice team to play. Like us they have a real mix of skills and experience levels. In the end it was a tie at 0-0. (That was so nice as a way to start unlike the team that demolished us last year. I’ve blogged about that experience here.)

It’s a bit a switch from the venue I played in last winter and of course, a huge switch from outdoor soccer. Last year we played in a repurposed hockey rink with turf rather than ice over the boards. What was fun about that game was using the boards. You could kick the ball at the boards to pass. Our new venue doesn’t have boards and so the ball can easily go out. Luckily there’s mesh so we don’t have to run too far.

And you kick, rather than throw, the ball back into play.

It’s a small field, faster play (very smooth, flat, artificial turf) and it’s all about passing and control. Team work!

No big boots down the length of the field. I kept reminding myself to kick lightly!

Go Rockettes!

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