I am accident prone. This is no secret. I have blogged about this in my post, "And try not to hurt yourself".
Since then, my relationship broke up and my football season started up again. The football part is great news for me because I love my football - both playing and watching. It's terrible news for my boss because since the season started, I've limped into work almost every Monday morning. He's told me that if I was in the army, I would have been sanctioned for self-inflicting these wounds.
Now, to clarify, my boss is also my uncle. So he's kidding. Same as when he tells me I'm not the accident waiting to happen, I'm the accident that keeps on happening. He loves me dearly, I know that. And he only wants what is best for me - both personally and professionally. As my uncle he has, on numerous occasions, urged me to give up football. My aunty has insisted I do girl things. She wrote it on my whiteboard at work. "Sammy is a girl and must only do girlie things!" And upon hearing last week that both my knees were injured (strained ACL on my left and a bruise on my right) Mum's exact words were "You have to give up the football, kiddo." Where are these sentiments coming from?
Well today I didn't limp into the office. No, no. My dad drove me to work & carried my laptop in while I hobbled in on crutches. My team was 1-0 with only a few minutes to go in our game on Saturday. Desperate to not concede a goal, I went in for a challenge and while I did dispossess the attacker, I came off second best. I have an appointment with the doctor tomorrow and I imagine I will be sent for an X-Ray &/or an MRI.
For months my uncle has insisted I will regret my decision to continue playing football. Now you can't be a Mawdsley without being passionate about football, so you must understand he has had a long involvement with the game - he and my dad were even foundation members of a local club, Rochedale Rovers. He played with my dad for many, many years. He was goalkeeper and he hurt his knee and back on numerous occasions. He continued to play. He regrets it now. He believes I will too.
My uncle has a lot of constant and very severe back and knee pain. It robs him of sleep, physical mobility, the ability to do much of the work he is capable of doing around his house and being able to play all rough and tumble with his granddaughter - the light of his life.
On the other hand, there is my dad. Now granted, he is a couple of years younger than my uncle, but only a couple. He plays football on Monday nights with a big group of men (& I play with him). On Wednesday nights he plays in a huge 35+ comp. I'm not old enough to play there. On Thursdays, he trains my team. Now when I say train, I don't mean stands around and yells instructions, I means gets in there and does everything we do. He plays in the game at the end of training and has been brought down in tackles on numerous occasions. He has had surgery on both knees, two shattered wrists, a broken ankle, a shattered cheek, numerous broken toes, memory loss and more strains, sprains and muscle tears than he could possibly count. But he still plays, he still loves it and he regrets absolutely nothing. He loves football - the light of his life.
So what do I do? I love football. I am still on a high from our 1-0 win on Saturday. In a way, I wear my knee bandage as a badge of honour. The only reason I got hurt is because I went in for a hard tackle to stop a goal. The only reason I cared so much about the result is because I love my football team. And the only reason I love my football team so much is because I have never met a group of 16 girls who are as accepting, fun-loving and supportive as my team.
|Samantha, football star.|
I played football when I was about six but I hated getting up early (see 'Ambition > Talent') so I gave it up for gymnastics which was on a weekday afternoon. I started up again when I was 12 and played on the boys team with three other girls. Those girls were all friends and were horrible to me. Absolutely horrible. At the end of the season, QSF told me I couldn't play with the boys anymore and would have to join a women's team. With those three bitches. So I quit again. In high school I wouldn't join the football teams because none of my friends would. I finally sucked it up and joined by myself in grade 11 and 12. I enjoyed it but the girls weren't that nice to me. Dad came to every single game when no other parent showed up to even a single one. That's just what football means to my family. At this time, I also played on a men's commercial league team with my dad. Each Friday night I would lace up my boots and march out there to play - the only girl - small for my age & inevitably with blonde pigtails. My team sent me out as captain. The general consensus was you had to be 17 and a male to play. I was 15 and a girl. But when someone finally challenged this, no definitive rule could be found & I was allowed to continue playing. I've played on men's six-a-side comps, men's indoor football comps and in other tournaments.
Last year, my cousin mentioned she was signing up for another season with her football team. She asked me why I didn't play with her. I told her I categorically refused to play with girls after my recent experiences. I was hesitant but she insisted they were absolutely lovely. Finally, I caved. Dad - ever the football fan - came to my first training session. By the end of the hour he'd been asked to be assistant coach. My cousin was right. The group of girls was amazing. Breathtaking. Lovely. Funny. Warm. There aren't enough adjectives. I love those girls - every one of them. As someone who has been judged, treated poorly and deemed 'weird' her whole life, I feel accepted. I've made friends. And I get to play football every week with my friends. And my dad. He's now our coach.
I think I just answered my own question, didn't I? I love my football team too much to quit. I love the time I spend each Monday night with my dad. I don't see me ever giving up the sport I love so much. Even if it means I won't be able to walk in 25 years time.
|I have a football team.|
|I have friends.|
Miss SAMawdsley xx
- What do you love most in the world?
- What would you sacrifice to do that thing?