So I Sucked at Field Hockey, But Here’s Why It Was the Best Thing Ever

“Summer Nicole Sides. Get out of bed right now and get your butt to field hockey practice.”

“Nope, I’m not going.”

With that, my Dad barged into my bedroom. Pulled off the covers. And told me to be in the car in 10-minutes.

It was 3pm. On the second day of field hockey try-outs my freshman year of high school and my Dad was determined to get me there.

“You committed to this, and you’re going.”

He was right. On a whim I’d signed up for the field hockey team. But on that Tuesday afternoon, I reminded him …

💫 … I wasn’t athletic.
💫 … I didn’t like sports.
💫 … I ducked and ran any time a ball came flying towards my head.
💫 … I was the kid always picked last in PE class.
💫 … No one would really miss me if I didn’t show up.

“Sometimes we’ve got to do things that are hard, difficult, or new. So get dressed and let’s go.”

Dad was right.

I didn’t want to go because it was hard. I was sore. And I was scared (*mainly of getting hit by a ball … but that’s a story for another day!*)

But something strange happened on the field that day.

Something that forever changed my life.

That day we learned everyone would make the team.

Sure, some of us would spend most of our time on the bench (🙋🏼‍♀️ me, that was me).

But we all learned the value of teamwork. We learned the importance of patience (we didn’t win a single game). And we learned how to trust ourselves in moments of unknown insecurity.

Because field hockey is a fast moving game …
💫 You never knew when a ball (or stick) would come flying at your head.
💫 You never knew when you would have to cut and go the other way.
💫 And you never knew when you would trip over a stick and spend the rest of the season in the athletic training room (🤦🏼‍♀️ okay, maybe that was just me!).

Summer Sides Fitness - Field Hockey Picture, 1998

I never got good at field hockey (*even after 3 seasons*).

I continue to be terrified of any game where balls fly through the air.

But I am forever grateful for my Dad pulling me out of bed that day and forcing me to field hockey practice. Because it truly made me the person I am today.

Without field hockey, I wouldn’t have …
💫 … learned I could run.
💫 … discovered an interest in athletic training.
💫 … worked in the concession stand at the local gym.
💫 … started taking group fitness classes at said local gym.
💫 … gotten a degree in Exercise Science.
💫 … had a successful career in the fitness industry.
💫 … built GXunited.

I’ve been thinking about my Dad a lot recently.

He would have been 75 this year.

And while I miss him every day, so much of him lives on in me (and not just his horrible teeth, bad luck with injuries, and love for movies/tv/theater.)

But his fight.

His belief that you could get through hard things.

And his unwavering support and love for me and my Mom.

His memory has been a constant source of strength for me through difficult moments and times these past few years (and Lord knows we’ve had a lot of those …).

Summer Sides Family

So today I’m landing here not with a note of how to teach better group fitness classes.

No super wise piece of exercise science knowledge.

But simply a story of hope and encouragement from my Dad.

On those days when you don’t want to get out of bed. When you don’t want to do the hard things. When you’re sore, unsure, or have no idea what you signed up for. Get out of bed. Put on your clothes. And go see what happens. Because maybe, just maybe, you’ll discover something about yourself that you never knew was possible.

Here’s to getting out of bed … even when we don’t want to!

P.S. As I crafted this note, I couldn’t help but think of all the classes I filmed “Live from GDY” on YouTube during lockdown and the stories I would share of my Dad during class.

Here is one of those classes. A 45-minute All Levels Yoga Flow inspired by the mantra “live your life fearlessly”.

Give yourself the space and time today to practice this flow, connect with those you love, and discover ways YOU can live your life fearlessly!!

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