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Athlete’s Corner-Betsy Archer
FabUplus: Tell us a bit about yourself.
BA: I am a body-positive personal trainer and clinical social worker. I work in a play-based context helping people find joy and movement and helping them feel better in their bodies so they can do the things that make them happy. I am my most joyful when I am playing in nature with my three kids and spouse. I love to grow food, lay in the sunshine, run in the mountains and lift heavy things.
FabUplus: Tell us about how you got into your sport.
BA: I started playing soccer when I was four and have played since, including for Warren Wilson College in the late 90s. Now, I play in an adult women’s league when I regularly get my ass handed to me by 25-year-olds.
FabUplus: How has your sport changed your life?
BA: I was always self-conscious of my size. I was always the biggest girl on my team. When the team would huddle, I was uncomfortable with the space my body took up. In college, when my team would run sprints, I was always last and I hated that. BUT when we were in the middle of a game and I knew I could score from 25 yards out, soccer gave me pride in the strength of my big thighs. I have always had a really intuitive sense of how the game is played. Soccer gave me confidence in my vision. It gave me a place where I could use my voice and where people heard me.
FabUplus: How does participating in this sport make you feel about your body?
BA: When I strike a ball in the sweet spot and it sails into the upper corner of the net, I feel invincible, if only for a second. When I play, I feel at home in my body. It took me a long time to realize that body competence isn’t related to waist size. Once this really clicked for me, I was able to recognize the power I hold in my legs and the finesse with which I can set up plays.
FabUplus: Where do you think this sport is going for women?
BA: I am hopeful for the sport of women’s soccer. Members of the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation demanding equal pay and treatment. Women’s soccer has been growing in the United States and around the world for the last 30 years. Little girls can now grow up knowing that being a professional soccer player could be a reality. How cool is that?
FabUplus: Who is your inspiration?
BA: My kids inspire me every day to be a better version of myself. My spouse inspires me to be more forgiving and give me space to try new things. I am inspired by my clients who come to me to learn how to move their bodies in new ways that can sometimes be scary or leave them feeling vulnerable, but they come back week after week anyway because they know they can feel better.
FabUplus: What do you want to say to women who may not yet have the confidence to follow their dreams?
BA: It’s cliche, but here is what I would do: Go sit in the sun with your eyes closed. Picture yourself 5, 10, 30 years from now. What do you see? Can you picture your older self stepping into her power? What would she say to the younger you who is full of fear or self-doubt? Let go of self-doubt. Let go of negativity. Channel the strength and confidence of this future self and stop waiting to really live.