Don't let unhappy high-school memories keep you out of team sports
Many of us are still recovering from a childhood of being the unco-ordinated person assigned to a team. We werenu2019t even picked u2014 we were just last. These scars run deep and remain barriers that may stop you from joining a sports team or running club as an adult.
But what if you want to join a team? While some of us are happy to go it alone on a 5 K run listening to our favourite podcast, many people benefit from the class group dynamic or the feeling of belonging that comes from playing a team sport.
What keeps so many of us from putting ourselves out there are the ghosts of gym class past. Itu2019s the fear of being laughed at as the only new person among a sea of experts. Will everyone mock me if I show up wearing the wrong clothes? Will I be the only one going right when everyone else is gracefully stepping left?
Well, if you never show up, youu2019ll never know. Your concerns about being the odd person out are keeping you physically out from exploring something new.
As we get older, we have to let go of some of the stories weu2019ve told ourselves over the years. No, you arenu2019t going to be riding in the Raptors’ victory parade, but I would bet that most of those natural grade-school athletes who were picked first wonu2019t be either. At some point, team sports and class fitness become something people do for fun. Itu2019s not a gateway to fame and fortune. Itu2019s a place for adults to get together, learn something new, laugh at each otheru2019s mistakes, and maybe even build friendships that last outside of the class. If you start showing up somewhere regularly, you will probably strike up a conversation about sticky lockers and your instructoru2019s hardcore devotion to playing the same three cool-down tracks with questionable lyrics.
Building a small community with like-minded people who all enjoy the same activity can keep you returning to a class when it gets challenging. Holding each other accountable to show up more than once a week or to attend workshops isnu2019t about being the best. Itu2019s about being there. The toughest part is walking in the door. Being the new person, even if you are an extrovert who could find a friend in a broom closet, is always going to be tough. However, you will find that in most cases people are excited to share something they love with a newcomer. They want you to discover why they are passionate about this activity.
If you have ever considered joining a team or trying something new but are afraid, itu2019s time to be realistic. We all had our first days and we walked by a studio without going in. We were all new once. You just need to gather up your courage and walk through the door. Itu2019s a small first step that can change your life. f