I understand the value of team sports. I loved them growing up and as an adult play doubles tennis for very different reasons than I’d play singles. In my 30’s I went out to play soccer as I’d done in my teens and decided that contact sports just aren’t destined to be part of my life any longer. I didn’t want to get bashed around.
When we asked our friends if they’d taken up a sport at any age over 40 we found that team sports were still appealing and that crashing into other athletes is good at any age.
What made our friends take up a team sport after 40?
Tanis Miller has two kids in University and one who will always live at home. Her husband travels a good deal for work, she’s been a runner for most of her life, and when a friend convinced her to try out for a ball hockey team she said yes without thinking too much about it. Tanis was surprised to find out how much she loves it.
Having known Tanis a good long time I had to ask what in the world she was thinking playing any sort of hockey with a back injury. She said:
I do have major back issues, including neuropathy in my feet and chronic back pain, all residual due to the nerve damage I sustained in a bad fall. Protecting my back and continuing to strengthen it is my number one health priority. I’ve learned over time the very best pain management I can find is to move and to keep moving. Since my son is only going to grow bigger and heavier, and he is always going to be a quadriplegic, I need to learn how to live with my back injury while still being able to parent and safely lift him.
I am very selective and protective on the activities I will engage in, so as to not hurt myself while I strengthen and maintain my fitness. No ice or snow sports other than snowshoeing (which I love). However, that said, life is short, yoga gets boring and I can’t live in a bubble. Joy is out there, waiting to be found. Who knew, for me, it would involve running around a concrete rink, wearing hockey gear, holding a stick and chasing a hard rubber ball? And yet here I am. 7 years ago, after my accident, I would never have thought it possible. One step at a time. I don’t take it for granted at all.
Jennifer Taggart: Attorney at Brawl – Why Jennifer joined the Roller Derby at 40
Jennifer roller skated her days away as a child and loved every minute of it. At 40 she really wanted to do something that would help her get and stay in shape while being on a team with other women. She happened upon roller derby which sounded and was fabulous. Surrounded by women of all ages who loved to skate she found a home with strong and powerful athletes. But with an edge.
I’m going to go ahead and live vicariously through our contact sport friends. Hockey in all its forms and Roller Derby are exhilarating to watch, so just call us the cheering section.