On Sunday at my daughter's soccer game, half the team was absent, leaving them with no subs. The girls, all energetic little nine-year-olds, ran their butts off, and all of us on the sidelines could see from their faces and their progressively slower approach to the ball, that they were really exhausted. At one point my daughter's friend Oona came running over to the sidelines and barked to the coach (her dad), "I need a SUB!!!!" As kindly as he could, Coach Dad replied, "There are no subs..."
Poor Oona, her brow furrowed, pig-tails flopping, she ran back out onto the field and did her best. At half-time, all the girls hobbled off the field collapsing onto their respective adults for water, comfort and praise. As the girls entered the second half, three out of five were limping and not one was smiling.
But they played. And played. And played. At one point Oona got hurt and had to leave the field and our team was down to just four tired little players. Oona's mom rubbed her injured shin as she sipped her water. About five minutes later, Oona hop-trotted up to her dad and asked to be put back in. The little crowd went wild. "Yay Oona!!!"
The next day when I was practicing yoga, I felt tired. I'd had a weekend away with some of my mommy friends and we did not treat our bodies kindly. Monday morning I was not at my best doing yoga. As Frankie guided us through the postures, I found myself thinking about five heroic nine-year-olds--Oona and Lucia and Imogen and Etta and A'Yanna. I smiled to think of them all playing without any breaks, whining a bit, but playing their hearts out. In those moments when I wanted to throw in the towel-- triangle pose, toe stand, camel pose-- I thought of the girls panting, struggling, bone-tired. I finished class, feeling righteous that I'd pushed myself through those moments where I thought I couldn't. It's so true. Sometimes you just have to keep playing, even when there are no subs.