07 April 2010

Not recognizing my reflection

I just got home from my soccer game... it was an interesting one. Typically I play on a very strong team that usually dominates the league, or at least competes closely with all of the other teams. This team is not the case, but it is really teaching me about myself.  I am learning to have fun and just enjoy being out there playing. I doubt i'll be able to play with the men in Bahrain. But here in my town, I am a "commodity" to the coed league. Teams are always looking to add women to their team. This area is actually thriving with well skilled female players. There are three large ACC teams in the area - so people are always graduating, and other people are always relocating here for jobs since the triangle is a good place to live.  I quit soccer for a little over a year when i started grad school, mostly because I didn't know there was any soccer out here, but once i started playing soccer again, my competetive nature was still there. Remember, i played for a division I school (albiet small), we were a pretty good team, and soccer is quite a competetive sport - so i'm a competitive player - tenacious. Prior to college, my teams won countless state championships. It was sort of a "culture shock" to go from division I to Recreational Coed.  Once we had this guy on our team that would go smoke a cigarette at half time. It was sort of funny but mostly not. I'm a coach at heart, so i would try to offer constructive criticism to my teammates, through the form of yelling ( so they could hear me of course), but it didn't always go so well. Its not my fault i know more about the game then them. I just wanted to help, but i see now how it comes across as arrogant. I also yelled at the refs at lot more than i do now. Poor man in black. I really used to give them a beating. Going from highly trained refs to the rec ones we get is also a big deal. they don't always know the laws of the game (yes laws not rules).. look it up (fifa.com) so they make stupid calls. Also the fields here are not as nice. I was really spoiled playing on the finely manicured pitch i had in college. I just never knew it. I'm sure it will get worse and i'll end up playing in sand. Hey, as long as I can play.  So my indoor team that i'm on presently is just a bunch of guys wanting to have a little fun in a recreational league. Boy are we getting hammered. I mean big time. But i'm laughing and having a good time. I even offer criticism to the teammates in a nice way and they seem to be handling it quite well. I am not the captain of the team this season, i only signed up to get the workout. Its a great 46 minutes of mostly sprinting. At half time today, the captain looked to me and asked, so what are your words of advice. I'm a natural leader, and clearly i coach the sport, but it felt really good to know that they respect me enough to ask for my opinion. I'm surprising myself even with my attitude and smile, especially when we're losing so badly. I just smile and have fun. Ok ok i'm still running hard and i will knock you down so watch out, but I am having fun just being there. But i think having Kong pose the question at me and have everyone looking to me to impart some wisdom (um, guys we're down 8-1, lets just try to have fun and work on our passing) Yes it was that bad. It showed me a reflection of myself. A reflection of growth. That I am no longer the angry tyrant but perhaps now, more of the fearless leader.

The fact is, I used to have quite a reputation for my mouth. That Sloan, boy she's got a mouth on her. 
I remember when i went through the change. I remember when i was no longer angry anymore. I remember when I learned to let it go. I'm not sure if my anger was ever about losing anyways. I think i just had a lot of pent up emotion and stress and needed to let it out, which turned into the form of running my mouth. But after I got divorced and really started looking inward at what I could do to be a better person, only then did i grow as a person. Divorce is never about one person doing something wrong - two people are in it. And everyone has their part in it, no matter what they think. I know there are a few exceptions like when the lady is getting beaten up for no apparent reason other than he is an abuser, then please get out, but i think just about every other situation can be solved if both parties are willing to work it out. My point is, I had a part in my failed marriage just as much as my ex husband did. I knew that if i were to ever be able to be in a relationship again, that I myself would have to change, and i think my therapist will attest to this, I have grown by leaps and bounds. Being an introspective person who can admit faults and seek change doesn't hurt. Even my teammates from my ultra competitive womens team have remarked at games over the past few seasons, "Sloan, i'm so proud of you." Its like they expect me to blow up and then i don't. Because i'm over it.  The things that had me so frustrated and angry before are no longer there. Unhappy people are unhappy. That is no longer the case with me and it really really shows. 

My outdoor womens team is quite a different story from my coed indoor team. I am the captain/coach, and it doesn't hurt that I formed a pretty good team and we have only 2 losses in our 23 regular season games. Not a bad record at all. I think about 8 or 9 of us played NCAA division I college soccer, and several others played in college somewhere.  We actually prefer the close matches. Winning 9-0 just gets boring. We won our last game 3-1.  It was actually pretty great as it was my first game of the season and i scored! I had been in Bahrain for the other two. The game was fairly close, it was 2-0 midway into the second half, and then we gave up a Penalty Kick so that is how they scored, then the last goal - my friend Yasmin dropped the ball back to me and i shot it with my first touch from about 40 yards out, left footed (i'm ambidextrous) and against the wind. This is no exaggeration. I tried to downplay it myself to only 25 yards, but even the referees corrected me saying, you were at least 40 yards out. And i know the wind was there. Anyone will attest to that. Typically though, i pass the ball. I am a midfielder and I prefer to cross the ball. To assist the goals. Anytime I score you would think we just won the national title. I get really excited and i celebrate. I can't help it. It is a great feeling to score a goal. Anyone that has played, or watched a match where the score is 0-0 the entire time knows how precious a goal in outdoor soccer really is. And the cool thing about it was that I assisted Yasmin's goal that game, and she assisted mine. I really like playing with her. She is this young attorney (well 6 months younger than me). I like talking to her because she is quite intelligent (as are most of my teammates), and law is a logical thing, so we are a lot alike. I would've liked to have gone to law school since my mother worked for the same law firm for over 25 years and i myself have worked in a law firm (so i've been immersed), but i preferred to go get a graduate degree wherever they would pay me to go rather than accrue debt, and they paid me to go to grad school for a degree in Statistics, and so it was written. So far it has worked out amazingly, but getting paid to go to graduate school was pretty sweet too, that's for another blog. Noone can deny that I have been extremely blessed by God and i deserve none of it. I think its time I start paying it back. I think servitude and/or obedience is what I will be learning next.

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