When I started school, I remember joking around with my friends and family about becoming a soccer player. You may think some girls just play soccer for the cute uniforms. Well, guilty as charged, because originally—that was me! Later that year, around August, Manor College’s soccer coach wound up reaching out to me, and asked me to join the team. I thought this was a joke, or I was on the show Punk’d, because I never talked about soccer with anybody at school, and I didn’t know any soccer players.
Well, fast forward to September when the season started. Being on the soccer team taught me to watch the opponent’s feet. If you have time one day, just watch a basketball player or football player on the field or court, and observe their posture and their body weight. You see that if they lean to the left more so than their right, then 9 times out of 10 they’re going to go right, and visa versa. When my coach had me out there on the field, he pushed me to run more than what I would do on a regular run; he pushed me more then I would push myself. I wasn’t the best player, but I was fast!
The soccer team was down to earth; it was a couple other girls that never played before, and some that you can tell soccer was their life. In the beginning, it was good; I was a cheerleader from middle to high school, so I knew about the obstacles that came with it. However, college was a totally different experience, with practice every day, then class at 6:30pm at night. Pet peeve: I hate sweating and being dirty, and going straight to class after the workout was just…ewwww.
My social life was another story; friends and family complained about not seeing me. My life was basically being a working mom, full-time soccer player, and school full time; plus, my son was in football. So, talk about a chicken running with their head cut off! My grades were good, but the days I had games were the days I had my hardest class. I was thinking: I can do it, I’ll get my grades up and work turned in, in no time. Nope: I failed.
Being a mom while playing soccer was hard for me sometimes. I felt like I wasn’t giving my son enough attention. However, when I thought about it, I knew that was me just telling myself that I need to quit. That right there made me realize: I can still do what I want and still have time for my son and do what I need to do for him. I brought my son to the practices; I brought my son to the games. Yes, it was hard, but I managed. If my son did not have his tablet or phone, he would play with the soccer ball or my coach would let him play with us doing practice.
In other words: I put what I learned in soccer into practice. I pushed myself harder than I ever would have before. It took me a while to learn the right balance for my life; for now, I’m taking a break from the soccer team and concentrating on academics. That doesn’t mean you can’t balance work, sports, socializing and school, but here’s what I learned: part of being an adult is finding what works for you.
Sheresa Palmer is a Criminal Justice major at Manor College.