It's been over 15 years since I've slipped on goalie gloves.
The feeling was trancendantly familiar. Slightly sweaty, thicker-than-normal gloves, with sticky latex on the fingers should a ball even come close enough to grip. I clapped my hands together a few times to esnure the fit, and stepped out onto the field. I could have flown to the goal with the butterflies in my stomach.
I wasn't expecting to play. We came to watch my husband's co-ed league practice game, A-girl sporting her soccer shorts, shin guards, frilly socks and pigtails so she could "play." As halftime approached, they put Mr. Braunalicious in goal. The man has done many things wonderfully in his life- playing goalie was not one of them.
I've stood in more goals than I could count through years in AYSO. It was my soccer identity. "Hi, my name is Carrie, and if you didn't guess by my stocky figure, unnecessarily loud voice and menacing gaze, I'm the goalie."
This was just a friendly game, where everyone said they weren't keeping score but were secretly counting each time the ball swished into the net. After a few warm-up shots, the ball was set in motion, and so was my brain. I was 15 again, commandeering the field from the goal and whispering to myself that no ball was going to get by me.
Well, a few did slip through. I felt a lump in my throat and an adrenaline rush like I hadn't experienced in years. The crowning moment was a dive in front of the goal. I saved the goal, and sacrificed my right shin. Two days later, the claw-like scrapes still sting but I couldn't be more proud. I've lifted my pant leg to brag to more people than I care to admit.
It's my visible reminder that I put myself out there, did something that momentarily was scary and came out with a physical badge of honor. It was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I'm doing everything I can to make that zone bigger by the day. And even if its another 15 years before I step into a goalie box and wiggle my fingers inside those familiar gloves, I will remember this day and the pride (and pain) that came with it.