So a deal is a deal…a promise a promise…this one goes back 8 years when I asked my husband to try a yoga class at the YMCA with me. It took a lot of convincing, begging, finally deal making and a promise. He knows I have a hard time trying something new, combine that with being alone and I’m terrified. He loves me so he said yes. The deal made was he would try yoga with me if I would try soccer with him. My husband loves soccer and has always played. He was at the time on a co-ed team. I said I would. I convinced my husband to go to a few more yoga classes. He asked me to play soccer with him. I declined, over and over. I had never played soccer. I was again terrified to try something new, especially with my husband who might be embarrassed by me and his peers who may laugh. He gave up asking…
Then a few weekends ago at our friends twin daughters birthday this deal came up. My husband is currently on a co-ed soccer team with our friends. They needed female subs to step in and they looked at me. “Megan, you should play…”, me shaking my head, “Oh, no….I don’t play soccer…” But then I remembered my deal with my husband (that I had never really forgotten) and I owned up. I smilingly admitted that I had told him if he went to yoga with me I would play soccer with him, but I emphasized that I had not played soccer since 7th grade P.E. Like I really, really don’t play soccer. I don’t know how many players there are, the positions or the lines on the field. Nada…They still wanted me to play. Join us, it will be fun…easy. Sure, ok…panic sets in.
The next day my husband hands me an old pair of soccer shorts informing me soccer players do not wear yoga pants. I also get a borrowed pair of knee-high socks. I’m terrified. Anxiety setting in….I won’t know what to do, they’ll laugh, it will be horrible. I put the shorts and socks into a bag with my tennis shoes hoping by showing up in my street clothes I have a greater chance to not be put on the field. We arrive, unload the kids who run off to play with the other players kids. I sit on the side trying to focus on breathing in and out. I hear our friend say, “You’re playing right?”…”Oh me, sure, let me go change…” I make it down to the field where everyone is getting into their positions and my friend yells, “Megan, you’re over here, mid-field.” I head out toward the middle(ish) area of the field where she is pointing. I admit to another player that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. She asks me if I’ve ever played soccer. I say no. She asks me if I play any sports. I mumble that I did gymnastics a loooong time ago….realizing too late she didn’t mean when I was in high school…again I’m awkward and embarrassed. She glances at me and says, “See her, with the red shirt on the other team. Stay by her. Stay between her and the ball and her and the goal.” I have no time to say anything because the whistle blows. I’m watching the action unfold on the other side of the field, it feels ok, I’m shuffling in front of the red shirt acting like I know what is going on and then suddenly she is sprinting toward the ball…oh god! I fly off after her and I keep up but it’s not pretty, I bump into her while apologizing over and over. She shrugs at me and keeps moving heading back to her designated field area. I follow her. I kept waiting for her to say, “What are you doing? Get away from me..” But she didn’t say a word. This kept happening. I kept chasing her and being in the way. My knee-high socks (minus shin guards) kept falling down. I kept tugging at them hoping no-one is paying attention. Another team-mate tells me to just keep doing what I was doing, I think they could see the panic in my eyes. This went on FOREVER! Ok, about 30 minutes and I was exhausted, wheezing and sweaty. I mouthed to my husband, “Can I stop?”. He helped me call in a sub at the next whistle. I ran to the sideline and instantly switched to mom mode taking both my girls to use the park bathroom.
In the bathroom, my daughter informs me they will hurry so I can get back to the game and play some more soccer with daddy. I smiled. I had overcome my fear, made good on my promise and I was still alive. We went back to the game where I went in one more time until I was called out again by my daughter yelling for me to help her with her “mommy only emergency”. It was just another potty trip, but secretly I was happy for the break. My husband’s team lost, but they did say I really did well for my first game and never having played. They also made me an honorary sub (which I’m going to take as a compliment).
My husband knows how hard this was for me. As we were leaving he smiled at me and said it was fun to have us all there. I decided that trying new things and I remembered that looking like an idiot at times won’t kill you, something I had forgotten from my youth. I also decided that I have a lot to learn about soccer and I think I will take a few lessons before I play again, but I will bring our kids to the field to watch their Daddy play the sport he loves. Maybe they will learn more abut the game than I do and follow in their Daddy’s footsteps. :)