Takes A Lickin and Keeps on Tickin or Finding Lila on the Ice

Dear Internet,
Apparently I have sucker written across my forehead in bright red letters because I got roped into playing on a broomball team this season.  For those of you who have no idea what this fine sport entails just go outside and throw yourself down on the pavement a few dozen times.  Then get up and try to hit a ball with a stick while on ice in your regular shoes.

Yeah.  I know.  I can hear your screams from here.

I do it once a week.  And I suck at it.  Seriously.  I'm terrible.  And the worst part is I can't even look cute while playing, like say if it were roller derby, because you know we are outside.  On ice.  In the middle of stupid cold winter.  Fishnets and mini skirts aren't really an option.  But I swear to God they would help.  Seriously, if you are going to routinely fall down you need something to pad your ego.

But I don't have that luxury.  All I got is ripped up snow pants, old rollerblading pads, and my terrible terrible athleticism.

At this point a big glaring, "But why on earth are you doing this Sara you suck at team sports especially ones that require hitting things with other things remember?" might come to mind.  Don't worry I've had that same thought.

And the only rationale I can come up with is I enjoy torturing myself and I must be The Valedictorian of Everything.  Including asinine sports invented by people before there were things you could do to entertain yourself during winter that don't require falling down.  Like say watching New Girl.  Inside.  On your couch.  While wearing footie pajamas and drinking chai.  And possibly doing your nails.

Except there's one major flaw in this rationale.  Unless some miracle happens and my hand eye coordination exponentially improves, I'm not going to be the Valedictorian of this "sport" anytime soon.  This of course drives me mad.  So mad that every Tuesday morning I wake up with a knot in my stomach wondering just how much of a complete fool I'm going to make of myself.  How many times am I going to fall down?  Miss the ball?  Cause our team to lose?  Etc, etc, etc until I've fallen into a shame cycle so deep the only solution is that I am a completely worthless human being undeserving of the very pads that protect my fragile posterior.  My poor performance later in the evening just solidifies it, I'm unworthy of love.  Clearly.  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.

I worked myself into such a tizzy this week I almost feigned sickness in order to get out of going to our game.  But I committed and have a team and they are blah blah counting on me blah blah (although they'd probably be happy if I actually did quit).  But being the solider on kinda girl I am, I got in the car and went.  Brian, bless his heart, gave me his best dad taking his kid to a soccer match pep talk, and it made me realize I might need to reevaluate this whole broomball cycle of shame.  I mean the sport was originally played with duct taped brooms.  Why on earth attach my self worth to something as stupid as that?  And since I seriously doubt I'll get that miracle, I need to quit beating myself up.  The ice does a good enough job of that and plus there are lots of other things I am indeed good at.  The Valedictorian of even.  Someone else can have broomball.

So instead of hardening.  Of contracting.  Of getting so worked up about how bad and terrible and awful I am.  I tried to let go and just have fun during our game.  To laugh every time I whacked at the ball and missed.  Or tripped over my own feet.  Or landed spread eagle on the ice for no apparent reason.  Because we all need to play sometimes.  To do something just for the sake of doing it.  To let go.  To open ourselves.  To fling ourselves headlong on the ice.

Because if you can drop your ego.  Forget perfection and winning.  And Valedictorian.   Even if just for a second.  You get an amazing taste of possibility.  Of space and openness and joy and love and laughter and connection.  And that feels so good it doesn't matter that you landed on your butt.  Or that you looked stupid doing it.

But don't take my word for it, "Play energizes us and enlivens us.  It eases our burdens.  It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities," Stuart Brown, MD and play expert.

I just hope my next possibilities don't cause so many bruises.


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