The Joy of Play
Before this year, I hadn’t played sports for ages. I remember quitting sports about 8 years ago and thinking I’d never play again. I was burnt out, it wasn’t fun for me anymore. I had played competitive sports since I was a kid and I was sick of being critiqued and compared to the player I used to be. All of the good things playing gave me were lost on me. At the time, I would have rather filled my evenings with nothing at all. No schedule, nowhere to be, it was so freeing.
Fast forward 8 years and 2 kids later and I was craving some scheduled me time. I was looking for somewhere I could exercise and have fun. Most of the girls I played ringette with growing up were still playing. They were competitive (it’s deeply ingrained from years of training), but they didn’t take the games too seriously. We played at 10pm at night, so really, I didn’t have an excuse not to go.
After stepping on the ice for the first time, I quickly fell back in love with the sport. The speed and gracefulness of the game, the thrill of beating someone on a one on one and hitting the top corner. Cheering from my teammates. Laughing when you make an awful play. The sheer fun of playing only for me. On the ice I wasn’t a mother, a wife or a business owner. All sport should be about that. When real life is a bit too real then the game becomes just about the game: the way it should be.
What happened in the dressing room after the game was almost as beneficial to me mentally as sweating it out physically for an hour on the ice. The dressing room chatter after the game was now about tricks for getting your baby to sleep through the night (or just complaining about the sleep deprivation), venting about our husbands, and our jobs. I’ve known these women since we were kids, then teens, and now as moms. So it was refreshing to just be me and know that they had my back.
Playing for you might be the beauty of creating art, the accomplishment in playing the piano, the thrill of dancing like nobody’s watching. When was the last time you played and what did you do, and what did it do for you?