Do you play any other sports?

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.) 

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14 Comments on “Do you play any other sports?”

  1. There was no soccer for girls in the dark ages when I went to HS. I was a Soccerette and we got to stand around the sidelines with a flag for something I don’t even remember what exactly.
    I was a competitive figure skater and danced in HS to enhance the skating.
    A brief stint in junior high track but that was about it for running until much, much later. Love the pics!

  2. I loved soccer too. I was never good at it but loved running and being agressive. I was goalie for awhile too. I hope you do join a team again!

    I bike now and strength train, but am not sure if those things count. I would LOVE to pick up a game of softball 🙂

  3. Soccer didn’t seem to hit Missouri until well after the fact. We were still mostly stuck on softball/baseball. Which I played from 1st grade up until junior year of high school (I was bored). Sometimes I wish I wouldn’t have dropped basketball after jr high. With my height, I feel I could have at least been semi-promising…

  4. Another dance team member here! So I totally understand that it wasn’t cheerleading 🙂

    I only did it my senior year, though. Part of me wishes I had done it earlier but considering I couldn’t stand most of the other girls on the squad I’m kind of glad I didn’t. We did compete at dance camp the summer before my senior year and I won some ribbons but during the rest of the year it was just practice and dancing at football and basketball halftimes.

    1. Dance camp! Yes, I totally went to camp the summer before my senior year. I don’t remember if I won any ribbons though. I do remember we were kind of the odd squad out. I think we were … scrappier than the other squads. We didn’t win a spirit pom until the last day, and I think that was only because they felt bad for us, haha.

  5. I played Volleyball through 10th grade, basketball and softball all through high school. I loved it. I just plainly love sports even though I was never very good. Although, I never really was a big fan of soccer. 🙂

  6. I played volleyball in high school, and as an adult, I trained in taekwondo till advance brown belt. The irony is that I started running to help with endurance to prepare for my black belt test, I then got into running and quit taekwondo. I also love snowboarding in the winter!

  7. I was just thinking about this over the weekend when I was running! I played soccer when I was 7-9, in a park district league. (Soccer didn’t come to my high school until after I graduated.) Through much of the 80’s until ’92, though I don’t consider it a sport, I showed Western Pleasure horses (it’s a style of riding, not a kind of horse) in 4H and rode in a drill team. Sixth grade was the year I played volleyball, seventh and eighth grade I ran track (100m and hurdles), after that there were no sports until I learned how to swim at 25 and started cycling in my late 20’s. Actual racing didn’t start until I was 31!

    I wonder often how things might have been different if I had been able to play high school sports. Would I still be a triathlete today? Who knows….

  8. I was always pretty active as a kid. I played basketball and softball from the young ages through junior high. I really loved volleyball but was never really good at it. (I couldn’t master the overhand serve!) I remember running the mile in gym class in junior high and thinking it was the most miserable experience ever. Why would anyone want to do that?

    In high school, sports were way more competitive and the thought of me making the basketball or volleyball teams were slim to none. Some of my friends joined the track team so I decided to give it a try. I made the team and happily enjoyed my life as a “sprinter” for three of the four years of high school. (I didn’t return my senior year because the coach was a jerk. There was way too much drama starting with those groups of girls anyways.)

    Growing up, I had absolutely zero interest in soccer. My cousins all played and I just thought it was boring. Even now, I’m not that into it (sorry). Although, when my husband and I have kids some day, I’m sure we’ll get them into soccer versus tackle football, hockey, or something else that’s also dangerous. Maybe then I’ll get into soccer…

    Great post! Love the vintage photos 🙂

  9. I was in gymnastics. Don’t ask. I was horrible but had to do something so they would stop trying to get me to play basketball. I really dislike ball sports, even more so as I grow older. I try not to scowl when they come on the TV. Hubby loves football and its frequently going on a tv in the house. And the kids like it. Scooooooowwwwwlllllllllling.

    1. My husband also loves football. He usually spends Sundays from now until February watching hours and hours of it with his best friend. All day long. Game after game. Booooooring. I gave up trying to tag along and seem interested. Maybe once the weather cools down, I will start doing my long runs on Sunday afternoons.

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