Fitness

How to rediscover your inner jock this summer

Our happiness writer Astrid shares the full-circle journey she's taken to rediscover her athletic side.

Woman kneeing soccer ball in urban park

Surprise yourself by getting back into a sport you used to love (Photo by Getty Images).

I have just a few athletic highlights in my childhood. Once, in grade 4, I made it to our city’s track and field competition thanks to a sweaty first-place position in my school’s 100-metre dash. I spent a few consecutive summers boarding a school bus to sports camp where my mornings were filled with badminton, volleyball and mini-Olympic events. I even spent a few years taking tennis and swimming lessons.

But looking back, most of those jockey events took place in my younger years. As I aged, I became less and less comfortable with my athletic skills and chose instead to focus on my artistic abilities. I don’t really know what changed: was it puberty? A discomfort in my body and a distrust that it could continue to be active athletically? Likely, and sadly, both.

So the tennis and swimming disappeared as did the camp and the track and field success. Instead, I continued on in my multiple dance classes a week of tap and jazz and later on, thriving in my school’s drama classes led to on-stage and behind the scenes stints for school performances. (Bye bye gym class by the way.) At home, our family’s love affair with musicals continued leading me to watch endless hours of Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music and many more. The arts were the clear victor in my battle of personal interests.

Now, a few decades later, I’m still very much a fan of the arts. I’ve seen my daughter through her first ballet exam, caught the Tony Awards and this weekend I’m taking in Shaping Sound‘s Toronto performance. I even consider my writing to be an art. But that inner jock I lost so many years ago? Turns out she’s pushing to get back out again.

How did this happen? While I’ve long been a Toronto Blue Jays fan, this year has got me spending many evenings (happily) watching games. (OK, I’ll admit that perhaps I don’t watch baseball for the, er, same reasons my husband does.)

I’ve got kids on soccer fields three to four nights a week and while one plays, I sometimes bug the other to kick a ball around with ol’ mom. I insisted we go see the open practice of the Canadian Women’s National soccer team — while I thought my little soccer players might enjoy it, I wanted to see what these girls could do in person. And while I’m back to running or cycling as a form of exercise, I occasionally Google “novice adult soccer teams” in hopes of finding a league of my own to teach me how to play. Add in the occasional summer flirtation with those activities of my youth — swimming and tennis — and it all leaves me a bit confused, but happy. In the black and white categorization of high school I can’t say whether I’m a jock….can I?

Of course I can. While this renewed interest in sports has surprised me, I’m happily welcoming it back.

Stay tuned for our August issue for more amazing summer sports you can do as an adult.