A Team Player

View from the American Tobacco Trail
View from the American Tobacco Trail

I don’t have to get up at 4:45 am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to work out, but I do.   I also don’t have to run 3 or 4 miles on the Tobacco Trail on my off days from the gym, but I do that, too.  I do it because if I fail to show up the text storm will wake me up anyway…”Are you ok?” “We missed you today.”  “We got our butts kicked!”  You see, I am part of a team again. 

At the age of 8 I began playing team sports.  I was the first girl to play little league baseball in Lee Center, NY, because there was no softball league yet and I needed something to do.  I loved sports from the very first time I put a huge glove on my tiny hand and my Dad tossed me a ball.  I also loved how it brought my Dad and me together every day for at least an hour. 

After little league came softball, and then in high school, volleyball.  I loved being part of a team.  Working together with other girls my age toward a common goal—scoring more points than the other team.  Each of us had our own job to do and when we did it well there was no better feeling in the world. 

When I got to Wells College there were no softball teams or volleyball teams, but there were traditions.  The Odd/Even basketball rivalry was particularly fun.  I played for 2 years then “graduated” to a coaching position.  And when the other athletes saw that I was fairly coordinated they recruited me to play lacrosse.  I loved lacrosse.  It was so hard to learn, but so much fun to play once it “clicked”.  We didn’t win a lot against the other, bigger schools, but the comradery was unbeatable.

After college I joined a recreational volleyball team, where I met my husband.  When we moved to California we continued with rec volleyball and met a number of friends, again all working toward the same goal—scoring more points than the other team.  It kept us active and gave us an outlet from the daily grind of graduate school and middle school science teaching.

Then came life….the isolation of moving to a strange new town, babies, a new home to care for….exhaustion, stress, and weight gain.  “Me time” was a thing of the past.  Team sports now belonged to my children.  I knew right away that they were experiencing the sheer joy of working with their teammates for that common goal—scoring more points.  Nothing beats that feeling of knowing that when everyone is working together things just feel “right”.  Win or lose, it was the team that mattered.

Without a team to be accountable to, I am not someone who loves to exercise.  Crazy, right?  A lifetime of fitness, but unable to function alone.  It feels more like torture than something fun to do when I’m running alone on the Tobacco Trail.  So, when my alarm goes off at 4:45am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or when Kim texts me our running time, I am happy to jump out of bed and head out.  I am part of a team again.  Working with other girls my age toward a common goal.  We may not be adding up points on a glowing scoreboard, but in the end we are still scoring.  We are stronger than we have ever been and the comradery is undeniable.

If you’re looking for a team to be part of in your new journey toward better health, try Peak Performance Fitness & Nutrition.  There is no other team I would rather be part of.  You may find the same.


Follow Sheri Allen, MPH, RD, LDN:

Registered Dietitian

Sheri Allen is a Registered Dietitian who works to help people understand the connection between the foods they eat and the way they feel. She brings extensive education and experience, including the Masters program at University of NC Chapel Hill and an internship at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center.
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