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Trying a New Sport as an Adult

Our Program Manager, Maddy Danford will be talking about her sport experience and trying new sports as an adult.

Growing up, I would play as many sports as the schools offered. Each season, I would try out to play that sport, even if I wasn’t very good at it; I just loved to play, be active and be a part of a team. When I wasn’t playing a sport myself, I was coaching, officiating or organizing a local grassroots league for the children and youth in my community. When I first moved away to attend University, that stopped. I wasn’t playing sports anymore, coaching, officiating or organizing sports. I felt like a large piece of me was missing, and I knew I needed to get back involved in sports in some aspect. That’s when I joined the intramural hockey league, started to attend workout classes and the gym and began working for Varsity Athletics as the Game Day Coordinator for all Women’s and Men’s hockey games; I was getting my groove back! A couple of years later, I began working at MLSE LaunchPad, a Sport For Development Centre located in downtown Toronto as a coach, and I was playing sports all the time, working with children and youth and having the best time! A few years later, I moved to a new city to begin my Ph.D. and sports left my life again. 

Living in a new city, not knowing anyone is tough. Making new friends as an adult is hard and my partner and I needed a way to meet people. My partner grew up curling with his grandfather and always said how he’d like to get back to it. When we moved to this new city, we thought, let’s try curling and meet some friends! We registered for the Kingston Sport and Social Club that fall to be curlers! Before the season began, the curling club offered Learn to Curl sessions to learn the basics. I was very nervous attending these sessions, as I thought I’d be the only adult there, or the worst one, or what if I fell and people laughed at me. All these thoughts had me not wanting to attend and not become a curler. However, I had to switch the script on that thinking by acknowledging that I’m a beginner and all beginners need to start somewhere. So that was my starting point. I had never curled a day in my life. I watched it on TV and thought hmmm, it doesn’t look that hard. To my surprise, it is very hard! The Learn To Curl sessions were so helpful and boosted my confidence, even though I was nervous for the first time. Once our season began, I noticed my improvements, focusing on areas to practice and was enjoying this new sport, even though I wasn’t the best or felt silly sometimes. We were meeting friends and getting active and it was exactly what we needed. Four years later, we are still curling each season, meeting new people, staying active, and I’m still improving! I have a long way to go, but that’s the cool thing about curling, I can play this sport well into my older years! It was hard for me to try something new as an adult. You must be willing to feel awkward and go outside your comfort zone, which is a place that often scares me. 

Whenever we go through life changes, such as high school to post-secondary, or post-secondary in to the workforce, or moving cities, or starting new jobs – you know, life stuff – sport and physical activity often get placed on the back burner. For me, being involved in sports in some capacity is my happy place, my sanctuary, a place I feel good in. Even though I’m not the best athlete, I like to stay active, and this means trying new things! If you’re reading this as an adult, who feels nervous or awkward about trying something new for the first time, and you’re not sure if you’ll fit in, or look silly, know that you are not alone! We all have to start somewhere, and this is your starting point! I am on a journey to try new things, even if they are hard, if I’m not good at it, or if I look silly trying. I know I’m the happiest while I’m active, and that’s all that matters!