@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Fast in the Past, Past Gone Fast
Once upon a past time, I was a pretty good soccer player. Back in my youth and teen years. My super power, if I had any, was speed. Those little stick legs of mine could run quite fast. Where I was gifted in speed, I failed to ever deliver power kicks. I’m unsure my scrawny body was even capable of a power shot. I played for years until I eventually was on a team with a group of girls I didn’t care for and the sport wasn’t fun to me anymore. By that time, I was getting into surfing and preferred pick up games with the boys on the block versus organized recreational sports. It became my belief that with in high school organized sports, either I would hate the coach or the girls on the team.
Flash forward— I’m 33, running the Astoria Park track which is just under a mile from my home. There are half soccer fields set up for the Astoria Soccer League. I watch them for a bit, playing in their bright soccer shirts, looking like they’re having fun, so I inquire about joining.
After a sleep, I register. It’s $60. I’ve no expectations of reliving glory days. In fact, I wouldn’t even consider high school years close to glory years, if any thing I’m in my golden era now. Instead, I’m just grasping at a final chance to play a cardio based sport, having fun while exercising, and maybe meeting cool people.
The first game we had it was near 90 degrees. I was already in physical pain because I had both surfed and was on my buddy’s jetski the previous couple days so my body was sore. Nevertheless, I requested to be thrown back into my old position of left or right wing, confident my cardio is still decent. Though I quickly learned, soccer is a different cardio than running. I almost never do short burst sprinting and that’s what I’m doing now. Without subs this game, I tire much more quickly than I anticipated. Was it the heat? Was it my age? Was it the fact that I didn’t sleep well? Was I simply, no longer good at this sport?
The answer is all of the above.
Most of the team is better than me, and that’s more than just okay, it’s good. We’d be screwed if everyone was as rusty as I. When I move to a defensive position, I find that at 33 I’m better suited to defend. This is because I’m not afraid of running at anyone. Despite being small, I don’t back down.
Goal after goal is scored on us. It didn’t help that none of us were practiced goal tenders. I briefly volunteered as goalie and had two goals scored on me. I’m pretty sure they’ll keep me out of goal from now on (this was partially what I wanted). I’ve never had a knack for goal keeping in any sport.
Despite the loss, it’s still fun. Everyone is cordial but you can tell some of the teammates are upset. It’s a rec soccer game with no stakes, kind of like how I treat surfing, I’m here to enjoy myself, move around, and allow some endorphins to kick around in my brain. However, I do miss a team I played with long ago, with two of my close friends, Brittany and Meredith. And Meredith’s mom, who was the biggest cheerleader on the sidelines, she died when we were young of breast cancer. As much as I miss the endurance I once had, of going and going and never slowing down, I miss being on the field with those people.
For some fleeting moments on the field I resented myself for not being able to pick up where I left off– some 15 years ago. Then, I laugh at myself. You can’t take a 15 year hiatus from anything and expect anything but being a rube again. It’s easy to fall out of practice of any skill or hobby. But the amazing thing about the brain and muscles, is you can recover. More slowly as we age.
It’s wild, how quickly the future becomes the past. And how what you consider fast now, is slow to your former self. Just because something is in the rear view mirror for you, doesn’t mean it’s lost, even if you never get it back. And like most things, it’s only too late if you let yourself believe so.