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Give up soccer, or any sports, for…………………

One of my former soccer students, Michelle, in roaming the net, found this interesting article. Not only. She wrote a very interesting comment to the editor. And because the topic was published by a man, and the comment by a woman, I think that the combination of both would be really useful to anyone, of both sexes, that have the same problem. So, here’s the article.


Jeff Opdyke writes in The Wall Street Journal of his own experience being pushed by his wife to give up soccer -- and of the experiences of other men giving up sports they loved -- so as not to endanger the family income pool, diminish the man's ability for childcare, for help around the house, and/or for other exigencies:

As I've noted in the past, I play soccer -- specifically, goalkeeper. And though I'm 41 years old, I play with the vigor and intensity -- Amy, my wife, would say "stupidity" -- of a 20-year-old. Either way, all my numerous injuries have been minor...until now.
I suffered a blow to my right quadriceps in a recent game that nearly resulted in emergency surgery -- a procedure in which the doctor would slice open my leg to relieve pressure from the blood that had accumulated in my muscle.

This -- a major injury -- has been Amy's biggest fear surrounding my soccer exploits. While she's concerned about my health, of course, she also worries that I will damage my body to such a degree that it affects my ability to earn a living as a writer. As it is, I've hurt my hands in so many ways that I now cannot remove my wedding ring because my ring-finger knuckle is so swollen.
Had any of my injuries been worse, she complains, "you might not be able to be a writer, and then what do we do?"

Her question always gives me pause -- and, as a result of the latest injury, has led to some pretty lively debates in our house of late. The immediate issue is whether I should hang up my soccer-goalie gloves. But the broader issue is even more difficult: Can a spouse veto your hobbies when those activities potentially affect your livelihood?

...Every time something like this happens, Amy quickly pushes me to retire from soccer, reminding me that I risk not only the family's income stream, but the ability to play with my kids and travel with her or even navigate the long flight of stairs at our lake house.
...Just as quickly, though, I disregard her complaints and continue playing. I love this game.

I've been off the field just two weeks, and despite passing out, despite throwing up in the doctor's office because of the pain, despite the pain I currently feel when walking, I cannot wait to return to the goal. If I could choose to do anything, I'd play goalkeeper every day; I love the game that much.
Amy doesn't share a similar passion for any particular activity, so it's hard for her to relate. She does, however, have a passion for family. And to her I'm jeopardizing all we've worked for.

He writes of a friend whose wife got him to give up playing baseball:

Without putting her foot down, my colleague says she encouraged her husband to forgo baseball for the family's benefit, telling him he needed to consider the family's future. So far he has kept himself on the bench. But the game constantly calls to him.

"I miss that part of my life," Eleazar says. "There's no other sport I like nearly as much. I was very happy and now it's gone. I feel like I'm missing something in my life. But, to me, it comes down to what's more important: my hobby, or my job and my family? If something happens to me and I can't pursue my job because I can't use my legs, that would be more devastating than not playing baseball.
"But I do miss the game. A lot."


Here’s Michelle’s great comment.


Dear Editor,

I am a soccer player myself... Let me elaborate, I am a 49 year old female soccer play - (mother and formerly married too) who has experienced and recovered from a torn ACL and meniscus (not to mention twisted ankles, bruises galore and missing toenails) (And I have a primarily desk job involving lots of computer time).

After the first few paragraphs, I was struggling with the premise. I went back and checked again. Yes he said his profession was a writer. Not a fire fighter. Not a construction worker. Not even a pianist. A writer. Not someone who must run or climb or even walk for his job. The premise that a soccer injury could affect his ability to earn living was a big, big stretch. I play with plenty of people on the four teams I am on, parents and spouses even, who are doctors, teachers, computer programmers, graphic designers, social workers, oh even a newspaper reporter.

OK he was a goal keeper and keepers do have a greater probability of finger injuries, which would slow his typing. But whether it's soccer, basketball, running on the sidewalk, tennis or golf, (ok maybe not golf) there is risk associated with living. But he was not bungee-jumping over the Amazon or swimming with sharks or whatever the extreme sports of today are.
Does his wife know what the alternative is? Increased risk of dying or being disabled from a heart attack/stroke/cancer/ diabetes/you-name-it due to lack of physical activity and lack of a positive way to get rid of the week's stress? If anything, that fact that he has a desk job makes it more important for him to get out and get exercise.

To end on a positive note, the man has several alternatives to quitting soccer:

1. Get disability insurance
2. Play in a less competitive league
3. Tame his go-all-out-for-it instinct. (He might find that hard but it can’t be as hard as quitting altogether)
4. Switch positions, involves reprogramming brain not to pick up the ball
5. Play once a week instead of twice (Cuts risk in half)
6. Play twice a week instead of three times (Cuts risk by 33%)
7. Go to marriage counseling
8. Send his wife to therapy
9. Get wife hooked on some kind of physical exercise
10. Get a new wife (just kidding, really)

Posted on 19 Oct 2007 by coachgianni
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