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Off-season soccer practice officially started this week. Sixteen college girls in a stuffy gym from 6:00-7:30am, three times a week- it’s not the prettiest sight.
My alarm goes off at 5:30. I lie in bed for five minutes, thinking about how much I don’t want to go run around, and then my feet hit the ground and I’m up. In ten minutes I’m outside, walking to the gym as one or two cabs pass by with their headlights still on. I have so much homework, a paper due in two days, and I get my midterm grades back today. I am so tired.
Within ten more minutes, I’m moving, laughing, kicking the ball around with my team and everything seems to go away. It’s the moment when I am nothing but my sweaty self, in a gym, doing what I love.
Everyone has that one thing that makes all the worries go away, even if only for a little while. I am lucky to have a healthy, happy family, and my only worries consist of school work. But even that gets stressful. I haven’t played in over a year because I chose to study abroad during soccer season. I don’t regret my decision for a second- I got to live in Europe for three months, so I think the trade off is fair to say the least. What I forgot during that year, however, was how much I love the game.
On a trip to Barcelona, I got to see FC Barcelona, one of Spain’s professional soccer teams and my personal favorite, play. It was honestly the coolest thing I have ever seen- I even cried when I saw my soccer heroes step onto the field (I know, it’s cheesy).
Being in the gym last week brought that passion back. It was the first time in a year that I got to stretch my legs out, experience the pangs of cleats scraping against my shins (it sounds painful but it’s part of the game that you actually grow to miss), and feel that little leap of my heart when I scored a goal. My world for those 90 minutes was the game, and I was back in love again.
I have now spent 367 words telling you how much I love and live soccer, but my point is to remind you that we all have that one thing that just makes us happy. It takes us into a different world where we are truly ourselves, and nothing can hinder that. For my dad and me, it’s a field (or a gym, in this case) with a ball. For others, it’s a warm spot on the beach, or under the shade of an oak tree in the park. For my mom, it’s standing in the kitchen window, making meatloaf and watching the horses graze.
A lot of times we forget about this magical place. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and everything that has to get done. My challenge this week is for all of us to go back to that place we haven’t been in a while, to find that smile we’ve lost over time, and to rediscover the loves in our lives.
My alarm is set for 5:30 tomorrow morning. I will wake up, lie in bed for five minutes, complain to myself for ten, and be in my “happy place” in twenty. It’s the best therapy there is.