Starting Soccer at 36

I have been watching soccer for over 20 years. I really started to follow during the summer of 1994 when the World Cup was in the United States. The US was not a great team but were fun to watch. I became a spectator, and started to follow the national teams of Germany, Ireland, and the US. When I could find Bundesliga games, I would watch Bayern Munchen and Wolfsburg. I never had any desire to play soccer, that was far too much running.

Something changed in the spring of 2015. Some friends that I had made supporting out local indoor soccer team played in a co-ed league. They needed another guy to play, and as a joke my wife told them to ask me. “You don’t want an out of shape guy that has never played on your team” I told them. But there was something inside me that said “Hey, this might be fun.” After some thought, and a couple of beers watching a game I said “Sure, I will give it a try, but I am telling you, I am going to be horrible.”

Match Day 1 arrived. I had not done training, made no real preparations, just bought some shoes and shin guards. I showed up and was thrown right into the fray. I made it two minutes and 14 seconds before I wheezed out for a sub. I played a total of 24 minutes my first game, not bad for an indoor virgin. The next day was hell, my body hurt everywhere. My legs were throbbing and my feet were swollen. But I survived the game, and I was looking forward to going back the next game.

I have improved some, my fitness has improved a bit, and I am having fun. I have scored some goals, I have made some tackles, and I have fallen down many times. Aside from a suffering a concussion from being checked headfirst into the dasher boards, I have had no major injuries.

Well that left a mark. #soccer #ouch

A post shared by Mike Schroeder (@mt_schroeder) on

I am never going to be a pro, or even a really good amateur player, but it is never to late to start.

Working at a standing desk

Just about three years ago, I read a couple of articles on the benefits of working at a standing desk. I had been sitting in a cube for several years, and I could tell that it was taking a toll on my body. I had put on weight, I was stiff and sore all the time and generally felt like garbage.

I thought about it for a day, and looked at my work environment to see what I could do. I started small by using a couple of paper boxes, and a small cube storage unit to raise up my screens and work surface. It worked pretty well, the first day I was able to stand for about two hours before I was too uncomfortable to keep going. That night my legs were throbbing, I was exhausted. I slept well, and started the next day on my feet. Over the next week I built up a little at a time until I was standing for almost the whole workday. During that week as each day passed, my legs were not as tired. That 3 o’clock slump did not come, I was more productive. There was an added benefit that I had not considered, after two weeks I had lost ten pounds. No other changes were made, just standing 5-6 hours per day, and my weight went down.

Fast forward three years to today. I am still working at a standing desk. I have made a more permanent setup that works well for me in my existing workspace. I have two cheap ClosetMaid Stackable organizers topped with a 24×48 piece of cherry plywood that I sanded down as my desktop. I built a monitor stand out of four 8″ x 1/2″ black iron pipe and a cheap 36″ shelf that I had around the house. This gives me enough room for my notebooks, mug of water, phone and iPad, all within reach.

My DIY Standing Desk Setup
My Standing Desk Setup

I have an anti fatigue mat which is hugely important. I don’t wear shoes when I can get away with it, but if we have clients in the office I will slip them on (most of the time). I was able to get a high desk chair, so when I do choose to sit I am able to without having to move everything.

Several of my coworkers have also adopted the standing desk. They have all cobbled together what works for them, one was even able to get the boss man to pony up for a Varidesk Pro. He likes it quite a bit, I found it to be a bit to cramped. I am hoping that when we move to our new space, I will be able to get a StandDesk. These look to be well made, and affordable to boot.