Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Do I run or let it be? On Sport & Stagnation

This post has been inspired by some of my favourite female creators on Youtube (also Hamilton because I couldn't *not* wangle a lyric into the title). Although I have yet to read it the book Eat, Sweat, Play by Anna Kessel is the central focus of the videos I'm linking below and is what has sparked this whole discussion on Women and sport and the fractious relationship between them.

A couple of months ago Leena Norms posted this fantastically worded video about Eat, Sweat, Play and how it had made her evaluate when the impetus to play sports was superseded by the pressure to present the unruffled, pristine image of a young woman. In the last couple of days Rosianna Halse Rojas posted her own video with her usual brilliant eloquence that covers a far wider range of topics than I'm going to address below, and yesterday Hannah Witton posted her thoughts about the book and her experience with sports. I whole-heartedly recommend you go watch all three of these videos and if you aren't subscribed to their channels then I suggest you fix that.

When I watched these videos I started to think back to my own experience with sports and what has changed since I was at school. It takes no time at all to notice that currently I do absolutely *no* sports activities beyond the odd bit of walking I do going from my house to my usual coffee shop, a few months ago I even posted on here about how I'd put on weight over the last 18 months and what effect that was having on my self-confidence.

Oddly enough I mention in that post about how when I was younger that I didn't do much exercise to maintain my weight but the truth is I *was* far more active than I gave myself credit for. Over the course of my childhood and teens I did swimming, trampolining and cricket outside of school, and I have a folder full of certificates to attest to that. On top of that I used to play often on my estate with my then neighbour/friend after school and at weekends. We'd play tennis in our end of the cul-de-sac, I was constantly smashing the ball over nearby fences in my over-enthusiasm, we would ride our bikes, scooters or roller-blade around the estate and generally spend quite a lot of time outside.

That doesn't even begin to include my participation in PE over the course of primary and secondary education. My memory isn't that great about whether I was on any teams but I do know that during PE classes I was usually throwing myself into whatever sport we were doing with almost gleeful abandon. I wasn't *The* Sporty Girl (I can still tell you the names of the girls in my Primary & High school who were the "Sporty" ones) but I certainly took PE far more seriously than some of my classmates.

The enjoyment of PE, for me lasted all the way until the end of Year 11. I didn't get on with some of the girls in my class and this may have manifested in my competitiveness in team sports, but I was still weirdly cheerful about whatever sport we were doing in any given term. From what Leena & Rosianna talk about in their videos I know that my experience isn't necessarily the norm.

Yes this is me in 2011, ironically that is my old high school behind me. 

But the participation in sports dropped off sharply after I dropped out of Uni in 2010, I had been playing for Aberystwyth's ladies' cricket team and another ladies' team closer to home but after leaving my enthusiasm for playing slowly dwindled. When I moved in with my other half it became impossible to continue playing for my team when they were based on the Shropshire border and I essentially now lived two whole counties away. That was in 2012 and my cricket kit hasn't moved from my parent's garage since then.

Nowadays I am more likely to groan at heaving myself off the sofa to make another cup of tea, wince as my hips and knees make awful clicky-clunky noises when I crouch or stretch and get worryingly shaky after going up and down stairs several times in quick succession. The thought of going outside to deliberately exercise is laughable and all my sports clothes get used as lounge wear. I do often wonder if the fact that I'm not doing some kind of physical activity is actually making my knees *worse*.

How do I go about digging myself out of this stagnation then? For starters I'm going to get my grubby mitts on a copy of Eat, Sweat, Play and read the heck out of it. Then my next move should be to get my lazy arse up the road to the leisure centre that is almost literal spitting distance from my house and do SOMETHING whether that be swimming or some other sport they offer. I could start running in the park that is right behind my house, or do some damn yoga in my lounge if I didn't want to get that crazy.

I can't keep sitting still forever, so do I run or do I let it be? Get back on my feet and make the best of me? We'll have to see. #Move4Ham

(p.s. If you're not on the Hamilton fan-train I'm #sorrynotsorry for all the Ham references in this post, I'm literally listening to Non-Stop right now. Gotta write like I'm running out of time.)


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.