I was on the soccer field, actually playing soccer. People were passing me the ball, and while my footwork was terrible, I could run fast, and mostly pass the ball down the field. I didn’t know anyone on my team, and I had no clue what the score was, but I was playing soccer. And then I woke up.
My husband, Thor, thinks I’m nuts for seeing symbolism in my dreams, but I really think that they mean something. For months when recovering from knee surgery, the last thing I would picture in my head before falling asleep was myself out running. I would try to visualize what it would be like when my knee was healed and I could be back to running outside. I would often have dreams that I was trying to run, but my legs wouldn’t move right, or I would uncontrollably spin in circles. After many months, the circles went away and I was plodding along…and then in reality, my legs slowly started being able to run again.
So the soccer dream last night took me by surprise. Mostly, I have sworn off soccer for fear of blowing out my knee again. Yes, yes, I did all the necessary physical therapy and I’m really active again – but soccer is a contact sport. Running on the track or lifting weights puts me in control, but playing soccer adds a lot of variables. I’ve wondered if I could play on a lower division team – maybe there’s even a “recovering injury” league full of people like me who want to play some gentle soccer; just passing the ball around, no slide tackling or full sprint challenges.
Spring has started, and I work out with a group of teachers on the track across the street from our school. Last year, the girls’ high school soccer team had their games at the same time, and I couldn’t take my eyes away. I wanted to charge the field and add myself to a team. Maybe my height and my bouncy blonde ponytail would help me infiltrate them for just a couple minutes.
Which also reminds me how much I miss being a part of a team. Whether we had a rare winning season, or a season where we didn’t even have enough players to fill the field, it was still fun to hang out with my soccer buddies every week. After having to quit the team, it was a lonely place. Every Sunday I knew they were out there playing without me, while I was icing and loading up on ibuprofen – and that sucked.
Before I ever hurt myself seriously, I remember playing a heated game in my women’s division. The women on the other team were pretty catty, making a lot of cheap plays, and one woman (at least 10 years older) was getting particularly frustrated that I kept beating her to the ball. At one point, I snuck in and inadvertently checked her in the hip hard while taking the ball away. She screamed at me, “You could really hurt someone!” I took a cheap shot back and replied, “Maybe you should join the over 40 league, lady.” That really pissed her off. It was a terrible thing to say and I knew it would rattle her. We won the game, but I didn’t feel very good about my comment.
Here I am today worried about someone like me, who enjoyed pushing people around on the field, and sometimes took risky moves to steal the ball. I’m not saying “Oh hey world! I’m going to play soccer again!” All I’m saying is that my dreams are telling me that I’m probably ready…maybe…