The night I met my husband for the first time I lied to him. *cue big gasp*
Not a terrible lie, mind you. Let me explain myself before I become a horrible person in your head.
I was out at dinner with two of my best friends when Matt and two other guys approached our table and kindly asked if they could buy us dessert. Now normally when I tell this story, I go into extravagant detail down to the color of his shirt that night, but I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you that of course we accepted the offer and we ended up at a Wendy’s next door eating frosties–Matt and I were completely lost in conversation with each other. During the conversation Matt asked if I play racquetball. My mind froze up. Here I am, a girl who walks all over campus in four-inch high heels all day hauling around a camera, spending hours at a campus news station, sometimes grabbing free time to read a classic, or go out dancing with friends. Sports….uh….not really my thing. But that would hurt my chances, right?!
I mean, look at him, I thought. He’s way athletic. He’s been talking about how he’s part of pretty much every sport on campus, from soccer to basketball to who knows what.
“I love racquetball!” I found myself suddenly saying. Marijke, my best friend to the left of me, knows me better than anyone. She just smiled down into her frostie. But it wasn’t REALLY a lie. I had played racquetball a few times with my room mate my freshmen semester at college and although I was terrible and had five-plus battle bruises afterwards, it was pretty fun. But….here I was, a senior in college. So that was years ago.
I couldn’t recover after that–he held me to a racquetball date (although luckily it wasn’t our FIRST date. Phew.) and to this day he keeps me playing. Not racquetball per se, but everything. And you know what? I love it. I absolutely love that one of the greatest reasons I love him so much is because we play!
Since we’ve been married, I’ve become a pretty good tennis player and I’d go as far as saying I’m addicted to the sport. With my pink racquet in hand and my black and pink sneakers, I could spend hours on a court. He also taught me how to play baseball and properly swing the bat. I turned out to love that too. We bought a raft and go on the water (I’ve always loved the water anyway, so not too big of a culture shock there). We play racquetball and basketball and water volleyball and toss the football. Play, play, play. We can’t ever get enough.
Recently, we also went to my first EVER football game!
And I had a blast. I think I surprised Matt by how many times I bounced out of my seat to holler and scream at the team as they rushed down the field toward their touchdowns and how I punched the air during each good play. Who knew I loved football? Matt tells me that he believes it was always in me, and it just possibly took him to show me that it’s in there. He showed me that it doesn’t mean I’m not dainty or feminine–it just means that I can also let loose and have fun.
There was something about rooting for my team that I loved. Rooting for not only a team of rough-housing guys, but Seattle. I love my home city to the core, and as one of our guys ran the ball down the field and scored that first amazing touchdown–I felt like Seattle as a whole rose up to a victory and we were all suddenly united in a chorus of cheers. I could easily feel bad that I’ve missed out on sports until now, but I don’t. I’m just catching up on it now and learning the importance of being a kid, even when you’re an adult–because adult life can get so monotonous.
(Pic: Me out in our raft on Silver Lake reading a book and waving to Matt)
Whether it be catching a game, spending time out on the water, playing a game of tennis, or throwing around a frisbee, I’m so grateful that my little family of three (Yes, Manning takes part in lots of play time 😉 ) is so full of life and fun. It doesn’t matter if I “run like a girl” like everyone on my soccer team in middle school would tell me. And it doesn’t matter if I never catch the ball or if I have horrible hand-eye coordination in every situation that doesn’t involve a racquet but just a hand. What matters is constantly playing, having fun, and finding joy in these healthy legs and arms and energy-filled bodies that God has given us. I’m no longer embarrassed to take part in sports.
And I don’t have to ever say again, “I’m not too huge into sports.”
Because I am. And this time, that’s no lie.