It took finishing a four year NCAA hockey career and almost 20 years of playing competitive hockey for me to fully realize the importance of sports and how hockey (and numerous other sports) have impacted my life and shaped me into who I am today. To say the least, sports are important. Discipline, time management, and team work are just a few of the numerous essential life skills that sports teach you. Some of my best friendships and memories I have made are through sports. Needless to say, I am a firm believer in the power of sports.
One of our first posts on bronze & gold was titled Consilience (Chapter 3) and I talked about how joining an intramural hockey team in Montreal turned a lonely time in my life into a very positive experience. Not surprisingly, I was very keen to find a team to join in Australia- unfortunately, hockey options are slightlyyyyy limited here. I decided my next best option was to try a popular Australian sport to really make my adventure special. After a bit of research, I selected netball. It's one of the most popular sports for girls here and shares some similarities to basketball so I thought my days on the North Dundas b-ball teams might help me pick it up a bit easier. I found a once a week ladies league where I could sign up as an individual and be placed on a team to join and I was all set!
The weekend before my first game, Anthony took me to a local netball court to go over some rules and so I could practice shooting (a netball net has no backboard! Picture just a basketball rim and net). I mistakenly thought our quick half hour lesson would be enough for my first game and I was bound to be the next big netball thing.
How wrong I was. Netball is not simply basketball without a backboard. There are seven positions and your position dictates what section of the court you're allowed to go in. You wear jerseys with your position on in lieu of a number so that the umpires, not referees, can ensure you're not out of bounds. I played Goal Attack for the first three quarters so I was allowed to play in the semi circle around the net (and one of the two people on our team allowed to shoot the ball) and up until the line before our defensive zone. In netball you're not allowed to run with the ball- it's all quick passes so that you can move up the court to get into an open area to shoot the ball. My time on Goal Attack actually went OK minus a few calls for moving my feet when I had the ball which I didn't even realise I was doing.
Things went downhill very quickly when a teammate asked me to swap with her for Goal Defence for the final quarter. A major netball rule is that you can't be within three feet of an opposing player when they have the ball, quite the opposite to hockey and basketball where you need to be on the puck or ball as close and as hard as you can. One of the reasons I played centre in hockey was because I could never stop following the puck. I'm pretty sure the umpires called me on this rule every 10 seconds. I really struggled and have never felt so frustrated playing a sport before.
If you ask anyone who knows me to describe me in one word, I'm pretty sure a strong majority of them would use competitive. Sports are something I have always excelled at and to not be able to just pick one up easily was definitely a strike to my ego. I ended up in tears of pure frustration when Anthony picked me up but once I was over the initial shock I realized how silly I was being. I had my mind set on extreme success in a sport I had never even watched on TV before let alone played and I reminded myself why I had joined the team in the first place. It wasn't for netball glory or to become a professional netballer. It was to maximise my Australian experience and for an extra opportunity to get involved in something new. I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and try something they've never tried before, whether it's a sport, language class, or guitar lessons. You'll grow, challenge your limits, and you never know who you may meet. Round 2 is this Tuesday night. Keep me in your thoughts as I attempt to stay 3 feet away from the player with the ball.
Lots of love,
Sydney embodies the bronze & gold message in every way and shares our love for new adventures and bucket lists. She was Teal's roommate and partner in crime in Montreal and is one of those true friends that just don't come around often- one that you know will always be there for you. Syd's a star baker, loves fishing, plus we're pretty sure she easily takes the title for hottest librarian around. We are so excited to feature her on bronze & gold!
Valentine’s Day. By far my least favourite “holiday”, where once a year the rest of the world reminds me how perpetually single I am. As we watch our hitched friends go on sappy dates, get cute presents and generally get showered in love, it can be pretty easy for those of us flying solo to get down on ourselves. BUT, as someone who’s been single for going on 6 years now, I’ve learned to embrace it. Since this blog is about navigating our 20s, I thought I would take this time to help my fellow solo artists out there by imparting some of my accumulated wisdom.
So in true BuzzFeed fashion… anyone who knows me knows this is, in a small way, fulfilling a huge dream of mine.
5 Reasons to Appreciate Being Single:
1. Cool dates to Cool places with Cool people
One of the perks of being single is navigating the dating scene. Anyone who has been on a few too many bad dates or worried over that long awaited text that never comes may be giving me shade right now, but hear me out. I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of cool people and go to a lot of cool place I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced. And yah, some dates were utter disasters but you learn to laugh at yourself and they make for funny stories around the campfire!
2. Pick up and move on a whim
When I graduated from my Masters this past spring I found myself in the same situation I’m sure most 20 something’s have been in: unemployed, broke, and looking to start my dream job. So when I was offered a position in my field 1500km away I figured WHY NOT!? While it was definitely hard to leave my family and friends behind, not having to worry about the impact my move would have on two people was very liberating.
3. More time with friends
Now I’m not saying people in relationships don't see their friends. But we all have a friend or two who has gone M.I.A. when they meet ‘the one’. All I’m saying is that when it’s just you, you inevitably end up spending more time with your friends since you can’t fall back on spending time with your significant other. You’re able to invest in long-term friendships that will support you before, during and after any romantic relationships.
4. Life is your oyster
When you’re single your decisions are all on you. You’re free to do what you want when you want. You can be super adventurous and take up weird hobbies, then spend the next day binge watching that new Netflix show while you down an entire bowl of popcorn on your own. Judgment free.
5. Discover who YOU are
As cliché as this may sound it’s very accurate. Being single in your 20s allows you to figure out who you are as an individual. The person I was five years ago is not at all the same person I am today. I’ve been able to spend this time discovering what my interests are, who I want to be as a person and where I want to be in life. I truly believe that figuring out who you are on your own before sharing your life with someone else is one of the most important things you can do for any future relationships you may have.
I took the title of this post from a quote I found:
“Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”
So for those who haven’t found the one yet: Hopefully Mr. or Mrs. Right comes along someday, but in the meantime take your 20’s to enjoy your independence and just DO YOU.
Of all the things we have in common there is one that could be deemed most shocking. Okay, it’s 2016. Maybe not shocking, but certainly fun, wild, and inorganic. Are you ready for it? We BOTH met our boyfriends on Tinder. Yes, you read that right. We BOTH met solid, take-home, long-term guys on Tinder. And we’re prepared to yell it from the rooftops!
Tinder is the butt of so many jokes and social critiques and to be honest, the generalization offends us. Sure, it’s a readily available locale to swipe your way into a casual hookup situation. But for a number of people, it’s a place where fate works its magic and somehow, somewhere, the stars align. I once read that there is a greater chance of meeting someone with whom you are compatible on Tinder, where it is totally random (at least it used to be before Tinder Plus), than the chance of meeting someone on a carefully calculated, compatibility-oriented dating website. It presents an interesting phenomenon to ponder…
Mad- I was apprehensive for a long time. Apprehensive isn’t the word, disgusted. How could the world be so shallow as to resort to swiping left or right on nothing but a picture of someone? What if the love of your life just wasn’t photogenic but had a really great personality? Slater and Teal were both enthusiasts, though, and explained it to me: “Mad, it’s no different than meeting someone at a bar. You’re only going to talk to them or approach them if you think they’re attractive.” A couple months later and a lonely heart from a recent breakup, and that was all the convincing I needed... Picture Kare hugging a teary me in the bathroom, while she exclaimed “F*** it! We’re getting the wine out and we’re getting Tinder!” The rest is history. When we matched and he boldly sent me his number I put him in my phone as ‘Joey Tinder’... thinking I’d have a ‘John Tinder’, ‘Jack Tinder’, ‘any-other-boy Tinder’ and this classification would simply keep me and my love life organized. But it never went beyond JT, as he’s come to be known by some. We texted long distance for three months before it progressed to me calling and talking his ear off. Our first phone conversation was 5 hours long and had to be cut short when I realized Bri was waking up for work and would wonder what in the blazes I was doing up on the phone! When a summer job brought me to Toronto, naturally our first date was a Blue Jays game and I was hook, line and sinker from the moment he waved me over to the gate in the pouring rain. Day after day we met at the gym, ate pizza and watched the ducks swim by down at the Bluffs, and stayed up way too late to function at work the next day. When he made it clear he “wasn’t down to just be a summer fling”, my shallow Tinder assumptions were proven mighty wrong.
Teal- I jumped on the Tinder bandwagon my senior year at Plattsburgh; however in a college town, Tinder was restricted to conversations with people 50 to 60 miles away that lasted a day or two and that was the end. When I moved to Montreal it was an entirely new Tinder game. Gone were the pointless conversations, people actually asked you out on dates! Tinder was the perfect way to meet new people and explore the hippest places Montreal had to offer. I opened a bottle of champagne with a sword, went to a Habs game, and went to a secret Japanese bar to name a few. One of my go to lines is “never say no to a date, even if it’s bad, it will make a good story.” So, when I matched with a travelling Aussie and he asked me out, it was an easy decision. I still remember my roommate at the time saying “isn’t it strange to be going on a date with someone you’re never going to see again?” Our first date lasted 8 hours and included a hike, dinner, and drinks at two different bars...funny enough, I did see him again. We went on another date the following night and the night after that. I should have known I had a keeper when by the end of the week, he was coming home for Easter dinner with me and meeting my extended family. Now almost two years after our first date and almost a year of an extreme 16,000km LDR, I’m having the time of my life with him in Australia!
Could all of these “Tinder success stories” be chance encounters? Or are they the result of fate? These are just a few but they all exist in our quality-over-quantity group of friends (read: small group). We’re the first to admit that meeting new people, even just new friends, is hard! Take that to the romantic level and being asked out nowadays just doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. As girls from down home families, never in a million years would we have expected this to be us. I mean our parents met so organically… Mad’s at a stag, Teal’s at a summer baseball league. But then we consider the context, the fast paced lives we live with the pressures of succeeding academically and then as a career women. Meeting love interests online or using social media apps is the way of our times and a way to connect like never before. It allows us to branch out, connect with people we likely would have never met otherwise, and pre-screen one another the way our generation has become accustomed to (because whether you accept it or not, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they text or use emojis).
If you’re still a hater, though, and still don’t believe in it’s power then we’re full on willing to accept that Tinder is some crazy kinda fate, some crazy generator of the best kind of anomalies to ever exist.
While we're the first to admit that there is inspiration to be had, sometimes lifestyle blogs, Instagram fitness accounts, self-help books, and motivational speakers foster added pressure to succeed, to be a "boss", to squeeze it all in. I recently listened to a speaker who was wildly successful in career goals, but her life was scheduled down to every last second... including phone alarms reminding her to breathe, sip her water, you name it. Fine and dandy for some, but for the rest of us in the crowd we were left shaking our heads and worrying what would happen given she had passed her scheduled bed time. She spoke of list after list after sticky note after sticky note that made up her extremely regimented life.
To this end, I think the message in this video is extremely powerful and needs to be heard by women of all ages ('cause it's never too late), but young ladies in particular. We have one shot at this thing we call life and while squeezing in experiences and opportunities is certainly a huge part of our happiness, we can not forget to take time to "just be" – without the pressure.
I guess I just want to say, be choosey when it comes to the social media you use to inspire you and make sure it truly reflects what you stand for without pushing you to be something that doesn't fulfill you. And please know, that you don't have to have a fancy job title, a leadership role in the community, Gerber babies, perfect attendance at the gym, a house out of the IKEA catalogue, a fairytale marriage, flawless hair and nails, AND an organic pantry to make a difference in this world.