Sunday, February 28, 2016

You can take the girl out of the gym ....

I grew up in a gym.


Like grew up there.

My husband said this is why loud noises don't bother me. All the kids can be yelling at once, someone playing piano, another person playing the drums on Tupperware, and I'm sitting there reading my book.

(Other things drive me crazy. Like having my name called 1,000 times in 47 seconds. But noise level, generally, does not.)

JB will walk in. "What were you raised in a gym or something?" he'll say. He said all the horns and buzzers have made me immune.

"Huh?" I'll ask pretending I can't hear him. This makes him smile.

But maybe there is something to his theory.

My earliest memories are chasing balls at my dad's practices, playing in the locker room while his teams practiced, creating unending adventures underneath the bleachers.

(Oh and accidentally getting locked in a locker. But that's a story for another day.)

My dad was a coach. I became a player. Then I became a coach.

At 26 years old I retired from the gym. We were in the midst of intensive infertility treatments. I was commuting an hour round trip in Minnesoa snow. I ended up in a corn field one day after running off the road. Hit two deer at the same time on another day. My husband was in medical school. I needed a less stressful job. Lots of reasons.

So I stepped away.

And I haven't been back since.

How have 12 years gone by before I could even think about it?

Two days ago, I got a Facebook message from a new friend in our homeschool co-op. She was the volleyball coach for our co-op. She's moving to a new school. She's coaching in a rec league. She needed help for a Saturday camp. Could I help?

We were processing chickens with some neighbors on Saturday. (Getting rid of a couple of mean roosters.) So I mentioned it to my husband thinking that he would quickly say, "I don't know how we can make that work."

Instead he said, "I think we can make that work."

I got giddy.

I spent the morning processing chickens.

I spent the afternoon in a gymnasium.

It is amazing how something you haven't done in 12 years can still be in you. It only takes the smell and sounds and feeling of being in a gym to suddenly feel like you are back being the person you always were. I instantly remember the things to say. My voice rose the appropriate level. I remembered how to hit, how to sit, how to serve, how to pass.

You can take me out of a gym. For 12 years actually. I can actually forget that I was an athlete. I can sit at Abigail's ballet, and collect chicken eggs, and check on a hurt goose. I can clean diapers and vacuum floors and help my children learn their multiplication facts. I can pull on big rubber boots and trek through the mud and fight against the snow. I can forget who I was.

But then when who I was comes right back at me, I instantly remember. And I like it.

I know this is where the Lord has called me right now in my life. I'm comfortable helping my husband on the farm. Educating my children. Running our adoption organization. Ministering to hurting women.

But underneath it all is just a big ol' tomboy. You can take the girl out of the gym. But I don't really think you can take the gym out of the girl.


Jenny said...

This is so great! So happy that you're able to spend some time doing something that was such a HUGE part of your life. I'm hoping one day soon to be back in the ballet studio. It's been 16 years!

Anonymous said...

THis is absolutely beautiful...makes me wish I were sitting across from you over a cup of tea to share how something very similar is happening to me at 59 years old -and having you write this helped me process what's been going on in my heart the last few months! I would love a copy of this emailed to me if you wouldn't mind!! xo Tante Jan

Laura Dunham said...

I am so happy you can get a little gym time! You are a very talented player and coach and I am glad you can share it with some new kids!