Confessions of a Sore Daredevil

If you read my blogs, you know the past month has been brutal. From the ambiguity of my dad’s health to moving to my third life crisis. It’s been uncomfortable in every way possible. That being said, I have never grown so much. One of my best friends recently put things in perspective. “Jones, this is the summer to do things that scare you. Sign up for as many of them as possible, and see what your life looks like at the end of it.” So, I did just that this past weekend.

I was invited to play on a coed soccer team. I was sitting at dinner with a group of people I had just met, and the guy next to me mentioned he played on a team. �Oh, I love soccer, I used to play and really miss it,� was my foot-in-mouth response. �That�s perfect, we�re always looking for more girls; you should come out and play with us on Saturday,� he enthusiastically replied. I�m sure I smiled and nodded, while muttering under my breath, �You have to be kidding me, I haven�t touched a ball in 11 years.� After living in Los Angeles for the past decade, I�m used to empty invites and no-show follow-ups, so you can imagine the surprise when the following day there was an e-mail with all the details for the upcoming game.

The night before I had an actual panic attack. All my insecurities started swirling in my head. �You haven�t played in forever, you�re going to make a fool out of yourself or pass out or throw up or maybe all at the exact same moment.� I consulted my parents, my brothers and my best friend, begging for some kind of reinforced excuse to not attend what was very quickly becoming my own pride�s fight with Goliath. Part of growing up with four older brothers is that I hate losing in general, but I really hate losing to guys. So the idea that I was going to play a sport I haven�t touched in eons, practically guarantee embarrassing moments and potential humility was enough to send me screaming for the hills.

Finally my dad (who used to coach all my soccer games) said, “You know I think it sounds great; I’ll come out and watch you.” So, I sucked it up, bought new equipment, filled my water thermos, lubed on sunblock and headed for the field. The butterflies were so bad I thought I was going to throw up before the game even started.

I thought I’d play 20 to 30 minutes but we were two players short, so I played all 90 minutes. It was brutal. I returned home in a fetal position unable to move for six hours out of sheer pain, but I’m happy I did it. I had a blast. I met new people, messed up like crazy, and laughed my ass off at just how uncoordinated I am. I refused to let my fear of looking imperfect or foolish prevent me from living, trying new or old things, and doing anything else that terrifies me. So my challenge to you is to do something that sends you outside your comfort zone. Go ahead and sign up for a new class, call an old friend or go to a movie alone. The version of us standing on the other side of life’ s little challenges is more confident than the one that backs down and walks away. You’re stronger than you think you are.

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