The US won and I’m Bummed (reflections on life.)

I’ve had a soccer ball at my feet since I was four-years-old. Suffice it to say I am an avid fan and could not wait to watch the Women’s World Cup final tonight. What I didn’t expect was to be struck with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy in the moments that I wasn’t on the edge of my seat.

I’m not sure if it was watching Wambach’s emotional interview before the game started or just poor hormonal timing, but instead of celebrating along with them, I found myself on the sidelines, lamenting the end of an era.

Ironically, I have never been a huge Wambach fan. I don’t dislike her- she’s obviously great- I just prefer Rapinoe’s style of play. Five years ago I probably would not have given her interview a second thought.

But tonight, now that I’m a mother, I was watching out for Abby.

As she tried to power through her pre-game interview it was evident that she didn’t want to accept this. I hurt for her as she choked up when discussing how her body is telling her that time is up. Through clenched teeth she spoke so highly of her teammates- the ones she is not ready to leave. She wasn’t touting her legendary career- she was basically implying that she isn’t ready.  As she accepted the trophy she kind of stood off to the side, perhaps feeling as if she was not really a part of this anymore.  Abby doesn’t feel done, doesn’t want to be done, but her body is telling her that she is. It reminded me of people who say they just “knew” when they were done having kids whereas for others their bodies decided for them.

I now realize my reaction is two-fold. It is the acceptance of aging as well as the constant struggle to slow down time.

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While I obviously never played professionally, I have recently begun coming to terms with the body’s aging process. It struck me that my time for playing sports at a competitive level has passed. (If you need further proof, two months after having a baby, in front of the high school team you coach, kick a soccer ball as hard as you can. You will soon realize how much ab strength that requires and how little you no longer possess!) My husband can no longer “just run a marathon” with very little training. My speed is not going to be my saving grace in athletic endeavors. In fact, we are more likely to get hurt doing the most basic of things. (i.e, throwing out your back tying shoelaces, anyone?!)

Of course adult leagues abound and we don’t have to completely write ourselves off from the sports we love, but when you are used to doing something pretty well and your body no longer cooperates with your brain, it can get very frustrating.  I find that I have less frustration when I play sports I was always just “okay” at- I am much more forgiving of myself!

In general, I am very proud of my body for what it can do as well as what it has done. Carrying 14 lbs of twins in a 5’2 petite frame is no joke!  My arms are far stronger than ever before due to carrying 25 lbs in each arm up and down the stairs all day long. I can still build endurance and strength pretty quickly. But it just isn’t the same. Sometimes I just miss running up and down the soccer field. And yes mom, I DO wish I had those extremely muscular legs that I always tried to cover in high school- the ones you told me I would wish back.

Just as we all will, Abby will undoubtedly move onto many great things in her next chapter. It’s true- there are definite benefits to getting older, wiser, etc, but it is equally true that sometimes it is just a big bummer. It stinks when your body dictates your limitations. You are forced to realize the end of an era.

My soccer player days are over and now I get to be a coach. I’ve always looked forward to teaching my children to play sports, but here’s the problem. I’m not ready! In the useless battle of trying to slow down time, I often feel sad. Time just goes too quickly. I know I will happily cheer my kids from the sidelines and would love to be a “Soccer Grandma” one day, but not yet! In my head I feel like my “babies” should be swaddled in soccer blankets- not needing me to lace up their cleats and secure their shinguards. I fear that if I blink they will be playing under the big lights of their high school stadium, embarrassed by my cheers in the stands.

I generally embrace the present moment (click here), enjoying whatever stage of life we are in. After all, there truly is nothing we can do to stop it. However, there’s a reason almost every single person you meet when you are out and about with a newborn tells you to enjoy this precious time. It’s okay to lament the passage of time, as long as you are still living the time you are in to the fullest! You never know what is around the next corner- each chapter is full of incredible potential!

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27 thoughts on “The US won and I’m Bummed (reflections on life.)

  1. Julie @ Girl on the Move says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart with this post! Once I turned 30 I realized my body did not recover quite as quickly as it did when I was 22 and that realization was a little bit sad for me but in the last two years I’ve learned to embrace what my body has been able to accomplish and be proud of that instead of sad for what it can no longer do.

  2. Stacey says:

    Lovely post! Since I have past the half century mark I can tell you that while certain endeavors might become more challenging, you will find great pride and satisfaction in completing new challenges. If you are the type of person (and it sounds like you are) that is wiling to push yourself, you will always experience the “wins”. I swam from Alcatraz for the first time this last fall, and I gotta tell you, swimming out in the bay was exhilarating! A win for sure!

    • strollersavvy says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I am certainly not giving up and look forward to new adventures! I have heard that Alcatraz swim is no joke- good for you!!!

  3. Michelle says:

    Love this post! Love your honestly. I understand how you feel too, but for me I watched this game through my 9 year olds soccer star eyes and I was so glad for her to see these amazing women be such positive role models for her and to show her that hard work can pay off- but I understand the “old” feeling haha.

    • strollersavvy says:

      LOVE this! It is so incredible to see the inspired faces of these young girls. We didn’t really grow up with female athlete role models and I just know women’s sports are only going to get bigger and better.

  4. Kirsten says:

    I can totally relate. I play tennis and paddle (winter racquetball/tennis/ping ongoing combo) year round and it is catching up with my body. As I approach 42, I realize the high school athlete I used to be is far behind me and unfortunately will never return. Now it’s about stretching and injury prevention, which I hate! Nothing we can do but fight time through exercise and feeding ourselves emotionally and spiritually. Hang in there!

    • strollersavvy says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. I am starting to really enjoy tennis! However, it is yet another sport where speed and agility were my saving grace- perhaps I should take lessons so I can actually rely on skill! I hear that pickleball is becoming a huge trend with the retired crowd!

  5. Kristen says:

    Now you can play with your kids and just for fun. We all slow down but we can still embrace the sport we love! Lovely post and nice to meet you!

    • strollersavvy says:

      Thanks! It’s probably better that my kids don’t see my competitive side anyways, since I really do want them to enjoy sports for the sake of having fun 😉 I am so excited to have found you too!

  6. winifred jac says:

    i danced my entire life. i had to stop just this past year because my daughter started it and with my husband’s work schedule, there was no way i could teach. it’s been weird without it. even if i could teach again in a few years, would my body be able to? would i still have that creative light? but then i think it’s okay if im done because it can help my daughter and she wont ever feel like she has to dance because mommy does. it’s bittersweet. and i watched the game and felt so emotional for the whole team but especially abby. #usa

    • strollersavvy says:

      That is a great point about your daughter not feeling the pressure to dance just because you do. I hope that you can find a way back to it someday though!

  7. Jaclyn says:

    Awww this is a great perspective! I’ve never played sports, so I’ve never even thought about how much you’d have to slow down with sports after having a baby (and just aging in general). It’s always bittersweet to move between the stages in life.

  8. Debra says:

    Oh how I love this post. I feel this way about so many things in life. I am happy to be where I am, but also can’t figure out how I am there already!

  9. Shelly says:

    Love this post. Growing up, I was always good at sports. It didn’t matter what sport, I excelled at them all. But everyday, I find myself telling myself I’m getting old even though I’m only 29 lol. After having my daughter, my body is no where near as flexible and forgiving as it was when I was younger. My three-year old daughter just started gymnastics and wanted me to tumble and do somersaults with her. It’s so hard to tell her, “sorry honey, but mommy is too old to do that anymore. My body hurts.”

    • strollersavvy says:

      I know, right?! Yesterday my son asked me to climb into this play structure with him and then he decided I was taking too long and told me to sit down and wait for him. :p

  10. Rebecca says:

    Such a great post and proof that no matter who we are, we all go through similar things. When we’re young we feel like we’re invincible, like we’re never going to get old, then suddenly our bodies start telling us otherwise and it’s never an easy thing to accept. Thanks for sharing this personal story.

  11. Karissa says:

    This is a really great post! Those moments go by too fast. That’s hard with the good moments but when they go through a difficult phase it’s nice to remember it wont last forever. Like when my daughter had colic, potty training, toddler tantrums.

    • strollersavvy says:

      Yes, having kids really is a constant reminder of how fast time goes. I like to think I haven’t changed that much and then I look at my 4.5 year old and realize how fast time flies.

  12. Taylor S. says:

    I struggle with this too. My daughter is starting dance soon and I’m frustrated that the baby weight I put on makes it so hard for me to dance! I know the feeling.

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