I have joined a rugby team!
I am not a natural born exercise freak. I do not run. I never think "OK, I have an hour, I'll just go out for a bit and run." I spend much more time avoiding running. I once "went for a run" with a boyfriend. It ended up being an hour of me bitching at him about how much I hated it. My insides burned, my side hurted, my lungs wheezed. No thanks. And that thing, whatever it is, that allows someone to get up and run and not stop for extended periods of time, I don't have it. I have 30 seconds before that burning feeling makes me slow.
But, I know exercise is good for me, and I know that a commitment to a team has lit the fire under my ass before. So when some friends from university joined a summer club team with some friends from high school (small world, eh Canada?), I gave myself a push and showed up to practice. It just so happened my first practice was also a team bonding/goal setting meeting. Warm and fuzzy times? I couldn't just slip away after that.
It's been about a month now, of practices twice a week after long, of tiring days, of cold packs on shoulders and hips and head, of re-learning how to tackle, ruck, and hold the ball, and of laughter and new friendships, as well as renewal of old ones. It's been a lot of fun.
It's also been super frusterating. I am a self-psycher-outer (real thing? I think so). When I do it wrong, I feel my face turn red and I want to run away. Last night I forgot my mouthguard somewhere, and fought back angry tears as I stood watching drills, mentally kicking myself. On Saturday, in my second game, I missed a tackle and the girl scored. I miscalculated and they scored again. I want to be one of those fast, mean, hard-hitting girls on the field, who know what they're doing and run right through the competition. Even more I just want to successfully tackle someone. It's frustrating, and I know I should use it to hit harder next time, to run faster and push further, but often I just end up feeling more hesitant than before.
But even in those moments of pain, even when I get it wrong and so completely wrong everyone knows, even when my teammates pull me aside to remind me "run straight" "aim low" "get OUT of the way of the fly half" I know they are supporting me. If I could feel safe going hard and failing hard, it should be there, where I know my teammates will pick me back up and high five me. Even after I missed tackles and made mistakes this Saturday, my whole team cheered me on after the game, celebrating my first try (touchdown, basically) that had come earlier in the game. I was happy and they knew I was. I knew I needed to work on things, and I know they knew too. Hopefully they also know I will bust my butt to get it right next time.