Or, other than running, have you participated in any other sports?

Running is something I didn’t really get into until I was an adult (around age 27), but I’ve always been pretty active.

swim lessons at the park forest aqua center 1986When I was a kid, the rule in our house was that if you wanted a membership to the local pool for the summer, you had to take swim lessons. I loved going to the pool and swimming with my friends, but forced lessons? Major drag. Especially the one time my middle-older brother and I were in the same class. As the youngest to his middle child status, he kind of made my youth as annoying as he possibly could.

The funny thing was, when I was older, and worked at that same pool, I taught swim lessons, and to this day, teaching swim lessons is one of my all-time favorite jobs. AND, thanks to my mom’s rule, I think I’m still a decent swimmer. (Endurance aside.)

In junior high, I actually joined the cross country and track teams. Just for funsies, because what else was I going to do after school? Sports seasons were one-at-a-time in junior high. I didn’t take either very seriously.

Also in junior high, I got into volleyball. Because most of my friends did. And my parents (mostly my mom) loved volleyball and played it recreationally, so they were pretty happy when I showed an interest in the sport. And again, sports were one-at-a-time, so it was that or nothing. I went to volleyball camp during summers in high school and eventually made the varsity team, so I guess I was relatively good at it. But by that time, I lost my love of volleyball. I’m not sure what happened, but staring down my toughest year academically, and the demands of the team (not just practice and games, but the amount of time we spent traveling to away games), and honestly, the fact that none of my close friends made the team, I suddenly wasn’t as interested in playing volleyball every day for the following three months. So I quit the team after the first or second official practice. I’m still not sure if my mom has recovered.

High SchoolBut my true sport-love is soccer. I never even touched a soccer ball until the spring of my freshman year of high school (1997). Soccer, especially for girls, wasn’t on anyone’s radar (at least among high schools in the south suburbs of Chicago) until the mid-90s.  So, there wasn’t much competition to make the team. You just showed up in your own cleats and shin guards, were given a uniform, and they gave everyone playing time.

And I had a blast. Who knew I would love soccer so much? It was probably for a number of reasons – it was still a “new” sport so it wasn’t as competitive, it was something I got into on my own and not because of my mom or my friends, so it was “mine,” games are usually low-scoring so there isn’t a lot of pressure on any one person (well, maybe the goalie, but that wasn’t my position). You just had fun with it.

I played throughout high school, took a break for 10 years, played with this women’s recreational league for a bit when I lived in the western burbs, and now I keep telling myself I should look for a rec team again after the marathon.

I was also on the dance team in high school (which was different from cheerleading … we just danced … I explain this to my husband over and over and he still calls me a cheerleader), and took ballet classes as both a kid and adult, but I never competed in dance, so I don’t think of it as a sport. But it was something active and I had a good time.

senior year basketball poms at Rich East backstage at a ballet recital

Do or did you play any sports or do anything else athletic, other than running? (Or biking/swimming for you triathletes.)