A Painful Welcome Back to the Soccer Season

I could see the ball in the air, sailing towards me. My muscles wrought with anticipation, I leaped into the air to receive it.

The next impact that I felt, however, wasn’t from the 16 oz. sphere. Instead, it came from a 6 ft. tall, 200 lb. young man who abruptly crashed into me from behind.

In that brief moment, I felt the ball ricochet off of our tangled bodies, and I sensed that I was caught somewhere between the air and the ground. The next thing I felt was my left hip slamming against the AstroTurf.

Welcome back to the Fall season of co-ed soccer.

Making the Transition Back to Soccer

Playing soccer (in a co-ed league and a women’s league) has its share of challenges, especially when you are transitioning back into it after having had a couple of months off in between seasons.

It’s like trying to remember the steps to a really difficult, choreographed dance. You know that the moves will come back to you eventually, but if you try to jump in too quickly and pick up where you left off, your lack of coordination and situational awareness may cause you to get injured.

Running-wise, I was doing great. But soccer requires the use of muscles that you don’t typically use in running. There’s a lot of lateral movement, plyometrics, sprinting and pivoting. You also have to know who’s around you so that you can get out of dodge if you have to- a mistake that I made and which I am currently paying the price for.

Back to Square 1 ?

Almost a week later, after painful blisters, super tight hamstrings and a couple of skinned knees, my hip/leg area is unhappy.

My running (which is normally effortless) is now marked by a pain in my upper left leg/thigh/hip area that feels like someone is sucker punching me every time my left foot comes into contact with the ground. I’d be lying if I said that I’m not frustrated by this.

I am incredibly frustrated.

I am also mad at myself for allowing my focus to remain on just the soccer ball when I should’ve been more aware of what (and who) was around me.

Not one to readily admit defeat, I have a difficult time succumbing to injuries and my body’s need to rest and recuperate. And now, it seems as though I have no choice.

As I take the next few days off to recover and take it easy, I’m thankful that I don’t have any soccer games this weekend. More importantly, however, I’m grateful that something worse didn’t happen out there on the field. It’s incredible sometimes to think about how long and hard you sometimes train for something…and how, in just one instant, it can all be lost.

At least we can always start over from somewhere.

You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there. -Edwin Louis Cole

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