Earlier this week, I played volleyball in a warehouse full of sand in the suburbs between Denver and Boulder. It’s what they call “beach” volleyball out here in Colorado, and man, was it a trip.
A sign on the door of the warehouse says, “It’s always summer when there’s Jose Cuervo!” and beach scenes are painted on the interior walls. There’s a bar. But there’s also six or seven volleyball courts, and a whole lot of people who can play.
As soon as I found my team (two guys and one other girl), and started warming up, I had a huge grin on my face. We played four games, and I had a blast.
There’s something about playing ball sports that makes me feel like a kid (probably because I haven't played much since being one). It's an escape very unlike running. I love the rhythmic motion of running for sorting through things in my head. But it’s also really fun to totally check out. There’s not really time to think about anything—other than what you’re doing—when a ball is coming at you on the court.
The night playing in that warehouse invigorated me in a way I’ve missed through pregnancy and the last 20 months (Sam is 20 months!). The last time I really played volleyball, or any ball sport, was in Santa Barbara when Sam was maybe four weeks old, and I didn’t yet know I was pregnant.
I had so much fun that I found myself feeling younger all week. Sam and I went to the gym the next morning, and even thought it was 20-something degrees out, I decided to ride my bike through the snow to get there. He was all bundled up in the Chariot. It was me who was a little cold, but happily having an adventure.
This morning, we took Sam to his first experience playing ball sports (aside from playing catch and "fetch" down the hallway and in the yard). They have Soccer Tots out here for kids as young as 18 months, and since our playgrounds are covered in snow, it’s tough to find something to do with a toddler in the winter.
It’s not like they were shooting on goal, juggling and practicing a set play. Sam’s “coach” led games and activities, and Sam ran around the indoor turf carrying the ball in his hands. Like his mother, he had a big smile on his face while playing.
Maybe it’s having a Sam that's making me realize new (and old, at the same time) ways to have fun. In the 10 or so years before baby, for years I was really focused on running and racing (running, adventure races, triathlons, etc). I still crave that kind of challenge—and hope to be healthy enough to do those things soon. But I also value the kid-like fun of chasing a ball around.