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I love exercise. I genuinely do. Now don’t get me wrong it requires energy, motivation and willpower which I’ll be honest, I lack. But I still love exercise. Anytime I do some sort of exercise I feel great after it. All the studies show that it releases great endorphins and makes you feel good and all that jazz. I hate listening to those studies because I don’t believe most things until I’m sure of it myself. However, exercise is great. It does genuinely help. The issue is what do I do and how can I do it?

From a young age I was always running around I never rested. Its something I’ve taken with me my whole life, I’m always on the go. I played every sport, golf, camogie I even got into a rowing boat. But soccer was where my heart lay. I played on the boys team for years. I loved the competition of “he won’t get past me” and pushing myself harder and harder every week. I loved the mud that caked my skin after a dirty game. I loved when the other team saw my team had a girl starting they thought they had it won and proving them wrong. I was once told “I wasn’t the best with a ball but I could stop others from playing”

I mean that’s half the battle for a defender so I was doing okay. From the age of 14 I moved up to the women’s league. Playing with adults in their 30’s and 40’s but every week I took them on (ate a lot of mud) and I came back for more week after week. I got older and my muscles got bigger and I could kick a ball really I was at the peak of my game. But My Black Dog consumed me and I haven’t played a soccer match in months.

I shared my love for soccer with my sisters and my dad. My dad would be at every game he could be at. He used to always tell me how proud he was to see me play. I never gave up. A forward would get passed me and I would “hunt them down like a greyhound”. When I stood on a football pitch everything left my brain. As soon as I crossed the white line onto the pitch I was able to leave my worries on the side-line and I stood tall, strong and I managed my back four better than the navy.

But I lost it. It got too much and I gave it all up. I go for the odd walk here and there. But I gave it all up and I lost my fight. It’s the first thing I want to do when I feel any way good is to go out and play football but I never do something stops me. I can’t describe to you the feeling I used to get after playing soccer. But I feel like tomorrow I’m gonna wipe the cobwebs off my boots and find a ball somewhere and kick it aimlessly.

Training is back next week and I’ve never been so excited. You can’t say no to a team. You can tell yourself to go away that you’re going to stay in bed instead of exercise. But how can you say that to 20 people? You can’t and I love it. I cannot wait to run around like a lunatic, be red in the face from exhaustion and probably feel like I might vomit. But I cannot wait.

Exercise is helpful. Honestly. You’ll feel great after it and I would recommend it to anyone. Getting up to go on a lonely run is not easy joining a team is easier because you almost have to go. Pull up your socks, tie your laces and break shins. Be a badass and once you cross the sideline its soccer (or camogie or gaelic or whatever).

I promise you, even though you may feel violently sick after, your muscles will ache and you might fall on your arse 100 times, you’ll feel so so so much better.


Ash x

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