Friday, September 10, 2010

SCORED A GOAL!!! Check...

Once we turn 40, the thought of playing organized sports doesn't even seem feasible.  The reasons?  "I'm too old."  "I've never played before."  "I don't have time."  The biggest one is "I'm so out of shape."

After coaching soccer for many years and watching plenty of youth soccer games, my husband and I decided to start our own co-ed recreational team last winter.  We call ourselves "The Kidney Shots."  The Wide World of Indoor Sports in North Smithfield, RI is a brand new facility that offers a co-ed non-competitive league that consists of men and women who are 18 years old and older. 

A post on Facebook didn't draw any interest and the reasons are listed above as to why no one stepped forward.  After a few calls were placed and a little arm twisting, we organized a bunch of fun, adventurous friends to whom we promised "a good time, lots of laughs, and hey...there's a bar upstairs for after the games!"

Our first game was a real learning experience.  I personally took a ball to the thigh that left an imprint for a week, I fell and got turf burn on both knees (mind you, I fell all by myself with no one near me), and we were so exhausted from running that we dismissed the bar and went home to nurse our wounds...inside and out.  But it was so exhilirating and we were already looking forward to the next game!

We lost as many games as we won that first season.  There were 8 teams and we came in 4th.  We didn't remember the scores, but we remembered heckling each other!  "Perhaps you should shave your back hair so you're more aerodynamic!"  "Did you seriously just kick the ball at our own goal???"  "Nice use of your ass, pal!"  "I just don't have the stamina!"  ("Yeah...that's what your wife said.")  Doh!

The Spring session was even better, and we were all becoming more fit, more confident, and suddenly...our team, whose average age is 40, was becoming "the team to beat" by teams who's average age was 23.  The Kidney Shots finished in 2nd place!

Here we are finishing the Summer session.  Our team is 7-0 with 2 games left.  And last night, I scored my first goal!  Normally a defensive player, I got a great pass from my teammate and helped bring our team to a 10-4 win.  The Kidney Shots are going into the playoffs with high hopes, more stamina, better cardio, and some great memories.  We meet for dinner before or after games on occasion with our kids in tow.  The kids have become best of friends, call one another, and cheer us on at every game.  And we feel good that we're showing them that life doesn't end after's just a continuation of the journey!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

TATTOO - Check!

September 1st marked the very first item completed on the To Do List of The F in Forties!  As a birthday gift, my husband got me a gift certificate to Sin Alley Tattoo on Benefit Street in Pawtucket, RI. 

How did we choose that particular joint? 
It seems as though everyone has a favorite artist - kind of like when you ask about a good real estate agent, everyone seems to know "the best."  When it comes down to it, if they had a good comfortable experience and they like their tattoo, then it's not necessarily a bad reference.  But when it comes to tattoos, you need to keep in mind that you have it there for the rest of your life - you can't just move out like in a real estate transaction. 

Mike Johnston, an artist at Sin Alley Tattoo, specializes in realism.  His attention to the fine details and his dedication to perfection are purely spectacular.  After seeing a friend's fairy tattoo, I had my mind set that Mike was the one for the job.  And boy...was I ever happy with my choice!

Did it hurt?  Details, Girl!
I walked in those doors cool as a cucumber.  After all, two of my friends (Marci & Amy) were meeting us there for moral support. Then I heard the buzzing of a tattoo needle, and I suddenly felt like I was getting on Space Mountain at Disney for my first time.  "You can't wuss out now, Mama," my husband Andy challenged.  Nope - I'm no quitter. 

Mike looked at the design I had, we discussed how long it would take to make it exactly as is, made some modifications, and then it was time for the tracing table.  About 10 minutes later, Mike pressed the design onto my back - just the outline to start for placement and design purposes.  Once I approved, I laid down on the table and the rest is history.

The first couple of strokes hurt - kind of like a bee sting.  But after 5 minutes, I felt mildly uncomfortable with little (if any) pain.  Marci, Amy, & Andy watched for the first half hour, goofed on me, and then marched over to the local (and I mean "local") bar next door.  I was kind of jealous!

So here's the scene:  there's thrasher music playing, the sound of buzzing acted as background noise, and the lights were dim except for the overhead light used over Mike's "work area" (AKA my back).  My legs started to sweat and stick to the table from nerves and my cell phone buzzed constantly with friends checking in on me.  "What the hell is taking you so long?"  My friends are so supportive!

The last half hour was painful.  There...I said it.  It hurt BAD!  Because of the detail and amount of shading, it felt like I was just getting carved with a scalpel.  Mike's very calming voice kept me from jumping from the table though.  "Starting to hurt?  Yeah...I'm sorry.  Just a few more minutes...10 max," he reassured. 

"It's really starting to smart," I tried to say without a whimper. 

"Awww!  My mom uses that word.  'Smart.'"  Great.  I just turned 40 the day before and already I'm sounding like 31 year old Mike's mom! 

That made the next text from my friend Amy (sipping happily on a draft next door) even more ironic. "Jesus...what are you banging him or something?"  I just hope poor Mike couldn't read that one over my shoulder.  Eek - nightmares.

I love it.  I went to Ireland and found a design I could live with for the rest of my life - 2 Celtic Birds in a Heart.  Mike did an unbelievable job modifying the details ever so slightly to cut down on time and cost.  My mom said I'd regret it, but so far...I just plain love it.  As a matter of fact, I might just get another one.  Thanks for making it such a good experience, Mike! 

And to my "partners in crime" - I can't believe you didn't save me a Guinness!!!