I think I've mentioned before that I've been pretty active in my life. I was on a swim team and volleyball team as a kid. I did volleyball and Tae Kwon Do as a teen. Thanks to Illinois's (very good) law requiring physical education classes everyday for all grades in public school, I got lots of time to play different sports and games with my classmates. My church loved competitive activity, so our youth groups always played games. I went to summer camp, which had more group games, plus swimming and horse back riding in the summer, cross-country skiing, tubing, skating, and tobogganing in the winter. My family went to the beach at least once a summer, plus occasionally to water parks or camping.
Needless to say, I got plenty of time to play and exert myself physically. And I really enjoyed it!
I was not as competitive as my sister. She was the type to who performed better when she was competing, rising to the pressure and possibly body checking someone to win (love you, Jess!). I wasn't seen as competitive compared to her. But I still loved to win and compete. I just usually chose things that had a more individual kind of test. More about me trying to best myself and push the limits of my abilities.
As an adult, I've found it much harder to get this type of activity. It costs money to join a team through a Park District. I haven't been at churches that have organized games, or I don't have the time, or a baby-sitter. I'd love to join Tae Kwon Do again, but the same issues of time, money and baby-sitting apply.
In the fall I began volunteering as a leader in our church's AWANA (a youth group, for those unaware). K is in Sparks and really likes it. This is his second year and S was old enough to join the little kids nursery time, so I could be a leader. It's nice to volunteer and do something fun since I'm going to be there anyway. But part of my desire to join was because of the team and competing. When I was in AWANA as a kid, our leaders were quite competitive. There were always chances for the leaders to do a game, with or without the kids. And everyone loved to do it. Our church isn't as into as mine was growing up (but they often did go too far in their desire to win or have the winning team, in retrospect). But, I have gotten a few opportunities to play this year, and I love it!
Last night, another leader and I played tug of war. Two leaders from each of the four teams go head to head. It was great! My team won (maybe my extra Mommy weight does come in handy a little, plus my nice long arms) and then all the little girls (ages 5-7) ran out to hug us and cheer us and give high fives. That's just such a fun experience. I look forward to more of that in the coming years. Whether it's volunteering at AWANA or maybe down the road getting a chance to join an adult team of some sort, or martial arts again. I always picture when the boys are older doing something as a family. Lots of people do that with martial arts-parents and kids all joining in.
I guess I've come to see that competing and joining in stuff like that is just part of who I am. And we've been trying lately to include more of the things we love in our lives so we don't feel like life is wasted or moving by without much enjoyment.