Sticks, steps and missed loves

in life •  10 months ago 

When I was a child I played field hockey and, was pretty darn good at it. I played most of my games on the left wing or inner as that position required being solid on the back stick and few others at that age were. The reason that I was so well skilled was because - I had no friends.

Life was hard for me in primary school so on the weekends and after school hours, I would spend my time alone hitting a ball against a set of concrete steps at my home that just happened to be about the same width as a field hockey goal. I would practice hitting and flicking the ball from step to step and left to right for hours at a time alone.

I didn't play at this point and the stick I used was @galenkp's old stick from a decade earlier. I was about 7 at this time, and it was then I decided to try out for the local team. I had never seen a game of hockey at this point, and never really had anyone to hit with and when I turned up to practice with my grey loaner stick, I noticed something strange. Everyone else had sticks of a different shape where the hook was smaller and thicker than the one I was using. They also had shinpads.

The coach of the team looked both amused and sorry for me at the same time, but let me warm up with a run around the oval - one I could barely complete.

Then we played.

While I couldn't run around the oval without struggle, put a hockey ball in front of me and I was able to run hard and fast hours and then, the coach started to pay attention because, I could also hit. You see, the steps that I used as my ball return system was at the top of a gradient in our front yard, meaning for me to be able to get the ball returned, I had to be able to hammer it hard up the slope first.

Remember that I was seven so, "hard" is a relative term but in comparison to the other kids in the group, many of whom were more experienced than myself, it would have seemed like I was smashing the ball like a pro. Not only that, like I said I was able to to play on the flip side.

For those who don't know field hockey, only the front face of the stick is allowed to hit the ball meaning that (I am right handed) to go to the left side requires "flipping the stick over" in the hands so the hook of the stick is the wrong way around. It is awkward and because the base of the stick is no longer in line with the hitting point, it is difficult to get power on the ball. Not many seven year old kids are capable of flipping the stick well, let alone hitting accurately with power on the back stick.

The coach swapped out my ancient stick with a modern version.

After a couple of mis-hits as I got accustomed to the shortened blade, Boom! the power I could get on the ball increased two-fold. I ran, and ran and outran and outplayed those on the field, including those who were older than myself.

I made the team.

For the few years I played field hockey, I played in the highest divisions and, when there was an injury or illness, I would play in the divisions up from me with the older kids.

I remember these days well as it was when I was confident in my abilities. Up until this point, being around people my own age was torture with incessant teasing, but on the field of play, we were forced to play as a team and they were forced to include me - if they wanted to win. One thing I always played on the field, was part of the team. I never aimed for the stars but, I supported those who did.

Hockey taught me a lot about life including, giving up what I loved.

I gave up around five years after starting because my parents had separated, my father had moved away to another area, my mother had other things to do in life and - I couldn't get to practices, let alone the games that were spread around the place. As a twelve year old who still didn't have any friends - I was isolated from being able to do the only thing that I felt I was good at - so, I quit. When I was asked why, I just told people that I wasn't interested in it anymore, but it was a lie.

Some of my team mates went on to play for Australia and while there is absolutely no guarantee I would have made it that far, I do feel that I would have been in with a pretty good shot if I had had the support needed to continue on.

The next time I picked up a stick was when I was around 17 and my high school girlfriend was competing for a position in the Queensland state team. She had two sticks in her bag and knew that once upon a time I played and asked if I could practice some drills with her. I didn't want to but she was stubborn.

She wanted to practice trying to get the ball from me so I took the stick and poked around at the ball in a half-assed attempt to put up a fight against her, and she realized I was holding back and insisted I put effort in. She chased me for an hour and a half - As I said, she was stubborn and this ended in tears. However, once she got over the fact that she was nowhere near as good as she had thought, we trained together in secret and she improved massively.

The last time I played was in an evening team she played in a few months later which was a mixed team in an off-season division with open age groups that housed a few up and coming and ex-Australian and professional players from time to time. Someone was ill and if they didn't have a replacement, they'd have to forfeit and my girlfriend looked at me pleadingly until I took a stick. Her teammates said to me; just try to stay out of the way.

Umm.. okay.

Yeah, I don't think so and once I was on the field of play again it felt so natural that I fell near immediately into a state of flow and the skills and team player mind took over. It felt good and after the game, I was asked by a player in the other team who coached if I was interested in trying out next season. Yes I was interested and now, I didn't have to rely on anyone to support me because I could support myself.

So I thought.

Two months later I was so ill with a chronic stomach disorder that I would barely be out of bed over the next 3 years and came close to death at 18 years of age. For the first time in my life, the thing that had never failed, my body, failed completely. It broke more than my body and for many years I thought that my life was as good as over.

Fuck that.

While I can reminisce about sporting glory days from childhood and remember the feel of the pain that it was to give up on what I love only to rediscover it and then be forced away again, life goes on. Over the years I have learned I am much more than my body, more than my mind, more than whatever talents I have had or have lost over time - the experiences of my life have shaped me into being something that is unique and valuable and even though the skills will come and go, who I am is always the same regardless - just me.

Life is a game of sliding doors, shoulda, coulda, woulda moments, opportunities taken and missed and taken away without the option to choose at all. It is wholly unfair in who gets a foot in the door, who gets injured, who has parents who support them or, who does not. While we like to think we have control over our experience, we are always at the mercy of random and perhaps the best we can ever do is understand enough that, shit happens and we need to deal with it the best we can.

Just because a love is lost, it doesn't mean one can never love again.

I have had, currently have and will have many loves in my life.

Taraz
[ a Steem original ]

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Welcome to #sportstalk and what a fine opener this is!

I enjoy the personal stories and this is exactly what I'd like to see more of here.

We do have some hockey fans, I think @patrickulrich is into the one on ice :)

Cheers. When young I was an avid sports nut, but after illness "took my legs" I lost interest as I couldn't participate.

The one on ice is for those who washed out of the Capades.

Galen said simliar - interest faded when not involved. Same for me I think.

Capades?

yep, they are the capades I am talking of. @nonameslefttouse washed out of the capades and ended up in hockey I think.

Oh my goodness, it's like you're telling my story! I joined late, old stick, turned out to be damn good, gave it up when my mum died but never lost the love for it. I still love hockey so much but my life has given me other adventures :) Thank you for sharing, very beautifully written.

Life gets in the way of what we want to do sometimes and often, there is not the choice to choose different. Glad you liked it, sorry about you losing your mum.

Many moons ago now, but thank you. I have taken up other sports in my older years like longboarding and yoga which are still fulfilling but I have to say a little competition sometimes really gets the blood pumping!!!

Hey, I see that you are really new, I will add a little delegation so you can comment as much as you like. =) hang on.

edit: I added 50 SP to your account so you can post a bit and comment a lot til you earn your own. Good luck on Steem :)

Excellent story. I understand the could have would have moment. We can love again and we do. But there are some of us whose love impacts us for the rest of our lives. It doesn't stop us from loving but we realize and are grateful for the Gratitude of the love that we had. Again thank you for your article @tarazkp

So many opportunities to love pass us by unnoticed, we cling to the ones that hurt the most.

True.

What a great story and while it did not have a happy ending, at least lessons were learned for other experiences that will come in the future. I had a similar experience with baseball which I played on elite level for about five years until we moved to a different country and since I did not know Spanish very well, I was never really given the opportunity to play again; luckily by then, I was more interested in girls than playing!

luckily by then, I was more interested in girls than playing!

This was where I turned my attention to as while primary school wasn't filled with friends, high school was filled with a lot of very pretty ones.

With that attitude sir you will conquer life. Its all about pivoting and adjusting and learning as you go along. You could turn around and be bitter but be thankful for your open mind and copious amount of logic. The world yours dude! Blast those balls in which ever form they come!

Posted using Partiko Android

Pivoting is important, especially when facing disappointment and a lot of the time, it is the way one frames the situation that is the difference. survivor or victim of circumstane - it is a choice.

survivor or victim of circumstane - it is a choice.

Agreed! Definitely a motto I have lived by. Life is not easy. But we choose how experiences mould us into the people we become. Learn, adapt, keep going!

Posted using Partiko Android

When they have followed people's lives who have been through horrors, the choice of survivor or victim makes a profound difference.

Life is a game of sliding doors, shoulda, coulda, woulda moments, opportunities taken and missed and taken away without the option to choose at all.

Uhm... yeah! I think I like this phrase very much. And for amusing eyecandy purposes, let's illustrate this concept a little bit further. };)

That is a pretty cool gif

Some of my team mates went on to play for Australia and while there is absolutely no guarantee I would have made it that far, I do feel that I would have been in with a pretty good shot if I had had the support needed to continue on.

One of the more pleasant surprises I didn't know about you. Can only imagine how differently things would've been if you were healthy and stable enough to see it through

Can only imagine how differently things would've been if you were healthy and stable enough to see it through

Yeah @empress-eremmy. According to my calculations, I reckon that @tarazkp would have reached stardom very soon in the field hockey big leagues. Despite he would have had the risk to leave all his teeth and tooths scattered along the hockey fields until reach adulthood.

So, take again a quick glance to his avatar. Don't you rejoice and feel now grateful that he has pursued other interests and is able to show us now that beautiful smile full of teeth?

Loool

Field hockey generally allows for a full-toothed head :D

Hahaha yeah, I suppose that contrary of in ice, in the fields, the speed of dribbling & crashes should be way more smooth and sluggish. :D

Can't go back so can only look forward.

Ooh, as I was reading I was thinking. This is sportsy and indeed the tag is there! I am off to hit it with my spamfarmer!

I figure that I have some stories to tell that are a a bit of fun and interesting. Sure, they might be a bit of fun and interesting for me only - but still ;D

Ha, but they have perspective - not just a wah wah wah, here is a news story I transcribed :OD

Transcribed? I cut and pasted this straight from the latest Sports Illustrated

Dammit, I'm taking back my vote! ;o)

I am pretty sure there are no takesy backsies on Steem.

If you offend the wrong people there are takesy up the backsies though... hehe

:D

😂

This is an amazing story bro, am so humbled reading this story.

You got a 24.16% upvote from @ocdb courtesy of @tarazkp! :)

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