One of the reasons that PGP has really taken off since its inception a couple years ago is because everybody has things about their work that they hate: their boss, the commute, the stress, their coworkers, the fact that their boss canceled all critical meetings on Monday because his “son was sick” but still had time to attend a fucking optional seminar in the middle of the day. PGP is a great to share stories about how drudging the post-TFM and -TSM worlds are in solidarity with other people going through similar struggles. It’s a great stress relief to see that other people are going through the same things and can sympathize with you.
In addition to PGP, the other thing that I use as stress relief is sports. As someone who played sports all the way up from U6 coed sports to college soccer, playing sports is a huge stress relief. While I also competitively run, there is something that only playing contact sports can get you; after a long day at work, there is nothing better than taking all of your frustration about your boss and sixty hour work weeks out on other people trying to do the same thing under the lights. Just the feeling of going out there and running around, playing 110% for forty minutes (apparently we’re all too out of shape to do anything more than 20-minute halves) is so therapeutic. It’s something that I feel like I need to keep me from going full Patrick Bateman on some of the people I work with.
But then why would I write an article addressing my retirement from these adult sports leagues? That’s a great question, fastidious PGP follower. Simply put, I think I rely on these adult leagues too much. I need them too much to help me deal with my stress from work and life. While I won’t go in depth into any of the events that have led me to this point, let me just say that I haven’t made very many friends with the refs or the opposing players (nor the opposing players’ girlfriends).
This week has really been an eye-opening time for me to discover just how much I use sports to quell my stress levels. Because of a certain event that I’m participating in that is taking place on the roads from Hopkinton to Boston this coming Monday, I haven’t run this week; this meant that I had no outlet outside of my adult soccer league to rid myself of the work stress. As the game started and immediately started turning chippy (every game goes like this), I felt myself grinding harder and harder to the point where it was less about winning the game and more about running and playing as hard as I could and being the passive aggressive bitch that I used to be when I played in college.
We ended up tying; we would have won had I focused more on playing for the joy of playing and less on being destructive. Kind of like how I’m glad I don’t do what I love as a job, I can’t bring myself to take organized team sports in a controlled and careless fashion anymore. Once you’ve played the game to win for so long, it’s too tough to play it just to have fun again. I care too much about winning and blowing off steam than having fun, and at this point, if I’m not having fun playing recreational sports, what’s the point of playing? I’m not making any friends with the refs, I’m not making any friends with the other team, and my teammates (who are coworkers) probably occasionally see sides of me that they never want to get a glimpse of at work.
There are definitely things that I will miss: hitting a contested 3, juking a dude out and running into the end zone, curling a shot from outside of the box into the upper corner – these are feelings that are pretty unique and confined to sports. But the added stress from playing, the feeling of not being as good as I once was, the fact that I care more than most of the other people on the field – it’s just too much. I hate being an asshole, and playing in adult sports leagues definitely bring out this side of me, something that I think I do a pretty good job of hiding except when I’m at Best Buy. I love playing sports, but not at the expense of my goodwill and sanity. That is, of course, until Tom Brady retires. I would do anything to play in that adult sports league. .
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