Heather Harris: No pain, no gain
I attempted to play basketball this past Sunday. This decision was made after a 10-year hiatus.
I shot around and looked at the women around me. Some looked like they were right out of college, and those that looked more my age -- 30 and older -- still appeared to have game.
I knew I was going to be out of shape, but I had no idea as to the extent of it.
The first time up the court, my instincts kicked in, I turned to see the ball and run on a sideways slant but my legs didn’t want to cooperate. I almost fell on my rear end.
Thankfully, we played a zone defense, but even then I could barely hold my tired arms up or step into the lane to stop the opponent from crossing into the middle.
The third, or maybe it was the fourth time up the court, I started to see stars. No, not Marilyn Monroe or Bratt Pitt, I literally started to see fuzzy dots circling around my head.
It felt like my lungs were about to explode and my legs were quivering as if made of spaghetti. I tried to carry on, but it just wasn’t working.
I called for the lone sub waiting on the sidelines.
Beyond thirsty, I chugged the water bottle I brought with me. I looked around for a water fountain, or as they say in these parts, a bubbler, for a re-fill.
My head was dizzy. I knew going back out there was against my better judgment, but ever the people pleaser, I didn’t want to let the ladies out on the court down. And, quite frankly, it felt pretty good to be back out on the court.
I missed all but one of the shots I took and more than once had to be reminded I was on offense, and to stop setting up on defense.
Still I tried to keep up. I realized in doing so it was going to cause me a lot more pain, and more than likely I would not be able to walk come Monday morning.
I was right on both counts. I barely made it out of the gym alive.
Delirious, I giggled in a sort of crazed manner all the way home. Happy that I had done something fun, but a little out of my mind knowing the consequences would catch up with me. Honestly, I think I was in shock.
At home, I threw some ice on my knees to thwart any guaranteed swelling. I took two Advil and hoped for the best.
Monday was as expected. I was sore, painfully so.
I tried to stretch but found myself unable to reach my toes. I took a shower to help loosen things up.
Slowly, I made my ways downstairs and got the kids ready for school and myself for work. I arrived at work and sort of appreciated the soreness my muscles provided.
Upon checking my email, I saw that I was asked to come play again next Sunday. Without hesitation, I responded I would be there.
Why in the world would I want to put myself through such torture again?
Because I love the game, I love the feeling you get when you find the back of the net, or pull down a rebound. I love the feeling that I’m part of something, even if it is just pick-up basketball on Sunday nights.
Because I know in the end, a little pain is worth it.
Heather Harris is reporter for the Norton Mirror, Mansfield News and Easton Journal in Massachusetts. A three-sport high school athlete and two-sport college athlete, sports have long been a passion of hers. The mother of two can be seen running through the streets of Mansfield where she currently resides. Heather Harris can be reached at email@example.com