My Life in Sport So Far…

Posted on February 16, 2012

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Let me begin with where this story actually started (always a good way to start, right?). I was born in South Africa but actually grew up in Portugal – you may or may not know this, but Portugal is very…very big on its football (soccer) which basically means that not only does everyone watch it religiously but you’ll see a lot of people just playing in the most awkward of places – but all that matters to them is that there is a ball, other people and some kind of available space, even if it is a tiny bit of space surrounded by parked cars, or a bit of street on a slope.

At school, we were always very active in sports, we would get to school early in order to meet with our friends and play either Volleyball, Basketball, Football and Ping-Pong (Table Tennis); then we would play during every break we had throughout the day and finally we would stay after classes to play for a little while longer. Yes…I was a bit of a tomboy growing up, but that has changed. However, I will never be a ‘pink’ girl. This way of life was very social and unbelievably fun, I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard as back then. Outside of school I was also having Swimming lessons for a few years as well as doing Gymnastics at a separate venue. Additionally, I played in a football team that was part of the school, as well as a team within my local town. Each town had a team, so we lived in Oliveira de Azemeis therefore our team was called ‘Oliveirense‘ so we would practice once a week and have a game every weekend. I was 13 when I started playing in Oliveirense, playing alongside girls that were between 18 and 30 – it was pretty intense.

It was quite a disappointment when I came to England and had to finish my last 3 years of school here and during break times I would ask my friends ‘should we go outside and play football or whatever it is you play here?’ and all I got was….a unanimous blank stare..after a few moments they just said ‘we don’t do that’ so I said…’what do you mean? What do you do then?’ and they said ‘We just sit in the common room’………in my head I screamed WHAT??? 😐
That was just depressing. On so many levels. I probably should add that that particular school was a girl’s school, which I had also never experienced before. Now, whether that is the explanation behind the zero sports I don’t know, because maybe they did the same in boys’ schools.

After that I thought I would get some sport from our P.E. classes, which by the way were not compulsory, like in Portugal – if they didn’t want to go to P.E. they could go to an English class instead. I obviously always chose P.E. but I was really disappointed to find out that because we were girls, we had to play ‘Netball’ instead of Basketball because apparently it was ‘less aggressive’. 😐 This pissed me off. I kept forgetting it was netball and I would play like it was basketball instead and get in trouble. But it got worse….then we tried to play football. It was indoors, and guess what……..THEY USED A FOAM BALL!!!! I mean…REALLY??? SERIOUSLY??? You simply can’t have a good game of football with a f@%&^% foam ball. This also pissed me off. I asked the teachers ‘Why????’ and they said because that way people wouldn’t get hurt so easily…. -_-     I was speechless…what could I possibly say to something so ridiculous?! Then we tried Tennis. Now, this is when I got a bit excited because we didn’t really play Tennis at school in Portugal but I had played before and really enjoyed it. Of course, that was a disappointment too because we spent the whole hour running and picking up balls that were miles away from the tennis court, because these girls were absolutely friggin useless at Tennis. No luck there either. 

I would say that at the English school, the only thing I found to be really fun and enjoyable was Trampolining.  I had never tried this in Portugal so at first I was a little bit nervous, but after I got the hang of it, I really loved it. This was something the other girls seemed to enjoy as well so at least this part lacked rolled eyes, crossed arms, slouches and long faces.

After I finished school and went to University I kept searching for some sport I could get involved in…there was a football team I could join but at the time it was too expensive for me to join. I just HAD to find something to remain active so I decided to join the nearby gym. I would go 2 to 3 times a week and do ‘Circuit Training‘ and I would try a different dance class like ‘Bum, Tums and Thighs’ or ‘Step’ or whatever seemed interesting. My favourite at the gym was Circuit Training because rather than just going to a gym and spend an hour by yourself lifting weights or whatever, there is a whole class full of people and we’re all doing it together, and are given a set of different exercises to do. Every exercise in the circuit would require the use of different muscles, so it was a good well rounded class.

I forgot to mention that a few years ago I also joined a weekly dance class with my sister and a few friends I worked with. We did Street Dancing for about a year – it was so much fun…I should really try and get back into it. In my 3rd year at Uni I had too much going on that I couldn’t make it to the gym anymore but I felt really hollow without any physical activity in my life.

My boyfriend at the time started playing football for a team in the South West London (I lived in South East London) and the team consisted of our group of friends, so they said for me to come along and I of course said Yes. I played for them as a ringer for that particular season then joined the league the next season. Our team is called the ‘Fighty Muckers’ …I’m sure you can all figure out the true origin of that name :p We won three seasons in a row, making us one of the strongest teams. We play as part of the Go Mammoth Social Club which has a lot of different sports leagues. I tried to join a Volleyball team simultaneously but they messed it all up and it didn’t work out in the end. You see…the thing with London is that there aren’t actually that many places you can go and join a league. I tried searching online to try and compare but there wasn’t much to compare. Football at Rocks Lane is one of the 2/3 places in London you can actually play football. I moved to the area in June last year and I now live about 10 minutes away from these football pitches. I am still part of this team – we now only have four of our original team as one moved to Cambridge, the other to Manchester, the other to Islington. The one who recently joined us has now moved to Scotland and in two weeks time, my ex is moving back to Russia. This leaves us with three of the original team (myself, Nav and Wes). Wes is American and will also move back to America at a later date, but at the moment we are searching for at least two new players – one male and one female. We play every Monday evening. After football we always go to the nearest pub (which I now work in) and through that social gathering we have become friends with a lot of the other teams. Because of this, we started a social football thing in which we play football every Wednesday, we book a pitch in advance and if a pitch is free before or after our game, we still play, so sometimes we play 2/3 hours and it consists of a bunch of friends who love football and want to play more than just once a week. Several times we have organised a game on a Saturday or a Sunday too – we are all very dedicated and serious about our football. It has become something I really look forward to every week.

But!…on the 30th of November 2011 I got an injury. 😦 I can’t begin to explain how upset this makes me.

I will tell you all about the shittiness of the injury in my next post 😉

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Posted in: Sports