I realize I've been pretty quiet here of late. Life is a busy thing. Marriage, kids, friends, work... all kinds of things to soak up one's time and energy. I've been so busy doing, I've had no time to sit back, think, and write.
Last weekend was the close of another chapter for me. Season 2 of my foray into women's tackle football ended with a less than satisfying record of wins and losses, but a definite feeling of personal accomplishment. After an extremely gratifying round of off season training with the amazing guys at King Football, I finally felt like less of a couch potato and more like (dare I say it?) an athlete. Now I know that some of you reading this are likely rolling on the floor in fits of laughter at the thought of me calling myself the "a" word, and to you I say hear me out.
I have never been athletic. I was the uncoordinated, bookish one. I've always enjoyed watching sports, but never felt confident or competent enough to play. I spent the first 41 years of my life that way. I was always a little envious of people who could jump into a sport and manage to pull off a relatively decent level of performance with seemingly little effort. Last year I finally took the plunge and started playing football.
It hasn't been easy; my body protested loudly. Four decades of inactivity will do that. And to add insult to injury were the naysayers and cynics. "You're too old." "You have a husband and kids; you shouldn't be wasting your time on football when you should be spending time with your family." "Women's football is a joke." "Your knees hurt? Maybe you should quit. Your body is trying to tell you something." "Have you lost your mind? Are you having a midlife crisis?"
Not one of these people ever asked me how I feel when I play. Or what it's done for my mental and physical well being. It's been a fight to try to rationalize with people why I'm doing this, but after handing in my equipment for another year, I've discovered that it doesn't matter. I love this game. As corny and cliche as it sounds, there's a whole other me when I put on that gear and get on the field. There's no way I can explain that to anyone outside my head, but when I talk to other women who do what I do, it's like a shared secret. We belong to an exclusive group of people who do what they love in spite of, and sometimes because of what their families and friends might think.
If you're one of those people who have tried to give me three hundred and two reasons why I have no business playing tackle football (and you know who you are), I say this - you can take your patronizing "girl power" platitudes, condescending comments and attempted guilt trips and stick 'em wherever it pleases you. What pleases me is football, and I'm going to play.