On THE SPORTS as Glennon would say…

people holding the volleyball

Guess what senior notable award I won in high school…

Nope, it wasn’t ‘Most likely to become a published author.’

And it wasn’t ‘Most likely to become a yogi.’

I was voted the ‘Most athletic’ female of my high school class. Yep, I played ‘the sports,’ to quote Glennon Doyle. I mostly use this fact now to shock and confuse those who haven’t known me that long. Truthfully, though, it has taken me more than 15 years to realize that I am still an athlete.

I still dream about volleyball regularly, and I actively ache when I watch others play. I miss the camaraderie of a team. I miss coaching and being coached. I miss marveling at the fans who came to watch us play with homemade signs and coordinated chants. I miss the collective celebrations after victories- mere points or entire matches. I miss the GREAT JOY of getting blocks and kills and aces. (And I am still extremely competitive…to a fault…)

It has also taken me more than 15 years to realize that one bad coach at the worst possible time ‘ruined’ my ‘career’ as an athlete. As much as I loved volleyball, I came away from my junior year club season knowing I didn’t want to play in college because I didn’t want the kind of volleyball I had been playing to dictate my whole life. For many years after high school I simply hated sports. I didn’t root for my college team (in fact, I judged those who did). I didn’t follow any college or professional teams. I turned away from ‘the sports.’

This is not at all to blame a coach who certainly wouldn’t remember me today. This is not about regret. It’s about reclaiming. I am delighted to finally come to the realization that I am still an athlete at heart. And the women’s U.S. National Soccer Team plays a role in me rediscovering that part of myself. I am so inspired by these women who represent a version of the United States that I am proud to root for- a version of my country that is led by strong women who fight for equality and stand up for what they believe in. I feel almost patriotic watching them play. I am a sports fan again.

And I am still an athlete.

Even if it’s just Peloton classes and pickleball.

Let’s fucking go.

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