Aging into fun

It is obvious that my posts have been, well, tech-centric for the better part of the last year. I do my best to not post specifics about my kids because, well, their life is theirs to live, not mine to post. But I have to credit them with introducing me to an activity that keeps me active and lets me have a little fun: soccer.

Fitness was an issue…

My introduction to soccer was, as I recall, 11v11, full field games somewhere between ages 8 and 11. Genetics dealt me a Mac truck, not a Ferrari, and so chasing a ball and a bunch of Ferraris around a field just was not going to appeal to me. I ended up playing baseball until high school, middle school football, and high school volleyball, but never returned to soccer.

Side Note: Based on my size alone, I get comments pretty much weekly as to if/when I played football. I probably could have been good, but my passive personality did not lend itself well to that sport. But, as I tell my brother, I have no chronic knee, back, shoulder pain from a contact sport…. So I have no regrets.

Having a kid in your early 20’s is a stressful affair, and that stress didn’t exactly help my weight problems. With two kids, and approaching thirty well north of three hundred pounds, I decided I should make some changes if I want to see my kids grow up. I started running and watching what I eat. I ended up losing about seventy pounds, and felt pretty good.

Becoming a soccer player

My oldest played youth soccer from U6 through U18. I spent a lot of time at the soccer fields, and have fond memories of even coaching a few U8 seasons with him. As I was introduced to that community, I found that there were some co-ed leagues in our area. The first one I joined was a 7v7 league which was played on either a U10 or a U12 field (I do not remember the exact size).

I had a lot of fun in that league, and was introduced to the game in a way where I was not required to run full-field sprints to recover. I learned the basics of the game, and became a serviceable field player.

Graduating to full field

At some point, I thought it might be fun to play in the Over 30 adult league. This league was a little more formal, with actual home and away games, real kits (or at least a nice jersey), and a full referee team.

Did I run more than I ever had in my life? Yes. Was it fun? Absolutely. In spite of some of the attitude issues (we aren’t playing for the World Cup, but you’d think we were), I had a great time with it. My personal and professional life was getting busy, and that, coupled with the attitude issues, led me to walk away from that team for a while.

When opportunity knocks..

A lot happened in the next few years. Got divorced, then COVID, then I got married again (well, married during COVID, as if we needed a bigger challenge), all the while working through a few different roles at work. I never actively looked for a team: there was enough to do without introducing another activity. A chance encounter with an old board member from the club changed that.

I came to find out that the community club my kids play started fielding adult teams a few years ago. As of now, we have an an over 30 team and an over 40 team. So I joined on, officially on the over 40 team. Sure, I can fill in on the over 30 team, and I have a few times. But that only made me realize how painfully out of shape I’ve become. Over 40 is a little more my speed. Still 11v11, full field, but 20 minute quarters instead of 45 minute halves. More breaks… I love it.

What are you getting at?

This post turned into something of “Matt’s life sport story.” The point is this: you are never too old to try something new. Soccer is a great way to stay active, and gives me just another reason to stay fit and healthy. And this new “adventurous” spirit has led me to try other new things, including scuba diving and skiing. Scuba I love, and my comfort in the water gives me a jump on a lot. Skiing…. Well, I had a lesson, and let’s say I can do it, but I need a lot more practice.

So, try something new. You never know what will happen.