Elizabeth, NJ and Soccer

Back in October I participated in a soccer tournament with my work. Yes, you read that correctly–I played soccer.

Our Northeast offices got together in Elizabeth, NJ to play. There needed to be at least one girl playing per team at all times, so my co-worker convinced me that I should go to help with the girl count but that I wouldn’t have to play. Knowing that, especially with my luck, there would be a chance I’d have to play at least a little bit, I decided to start preparing. Fortunately, Heidi played soccer like a pro in college, so she had an extra pair of cleats that I could borrow, along with shin guards and soccer socks. I finally put my gym membership to use and had two weeks to mentally prepare for the possibility of playing. Mind you, I had never played soccer before in my entire life. I fractured my wrist while running in sixth grade. In eighth grade, I sprained my ankle right before basketball season from playing basketball in P.E., and later that year I got a black eye playing flag football. FLAG football. I was prepared for injury.

We flew into Newark on Friday night. We stayed at the Short Hills Hilton, which was nice. That night, our team hung out over food and drinks and strategized. The next day, bright and early, we took a bus over to Watanego Park in Elizabeth. I was able to evade playing the first game. For the second game, I prepared myself in case I needed to sub anyone. I didn’t, thankfully. I chickened out for the third game, but when we won that game, I decided I needed to at least contribute a little bit, so I started the fourth game. I was able to block a pass and get the ball back from the other team, in turn assisting with our first goal of that game. I probably only played for about six minutes total, if that, but I felt good about it. Now I”m ready to start training for next year.

It’s funny how I was so scared of playing at first, but once I was out there, it wasn’t as scary as I imagined it would be. I guess that’s how our fears are sometimes–we’re more afraid of the ideas of things than we are of the actual actions. We fear what isn’t even real, like when you see the shadow of what you think is huge and terrifying, but decide to face it, only to find out that what you were afraid of all along was only the giant shadow of a tiny creature. I don’t want to give my fears that kind of power–I don’t want to allow them to keep me from doing things, even if I only do them once. This was good practice.

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