I have her to thank for a lot. Believe it or not.
If you ask her today, Linda might say that she wants to be a police officer. Ask her next week, she’s planning to live in New Zeeland for a year. Ask her again the week after that and it’ll be something new. This is a girl who gives restlessness a face.
Born in Stockholm on the island Vämdö, she practically grew up on the handball court. From what I understand, ie what she’s told me, she was very promising from an early age. Confidence has never been an issue with this girl and it’s the kind of confidence I admire, the believing-in-yourself kind.
She worked in a bank for many years, then made the switch to more-time (I’d call it semi pro) handball player when she moved to Skövde, and worked with kids teaching handball at the same time, after leaving the bank world.
She played on the left flank and had a wicked hard shot, and was a warrior in the defence. She was always fun to play with and always gave it her full focus and commitment. She pushed herself to always do better and no one was harder on her then she was herself if she didn’t succeed. One of the best players I’ve ever played with, hands down.
After she had to put her handball shoes on the shelf she moved back to Stockholm to study a personal trainer education, and it was a perfect fit. But, as I started with, restlessness is still very present and there’s no telling where it will take her next.
Today, she works as in a school, takes classes to become a masseuse and plays beach handball for the club she also co-founded – one of the first in Sweden – as well as for the Swedish national beach handball team.
This summer was the European championship in Croatia and thanks to her, I got to experience this as well, and it was a real adventure. One of many adventures that started in her restlessness.
I first met Linda in a smelly locker room in Arena Skövde. Her moving to Skövde was the start of a new chapter in her life, and mine. She was open and inclusive, strait forward and honest, curious and considered, which made it super easy to like her right from the start. Also, we had the same taste in movies, which meant I finally got to go to nerdy movies with someone as nerdy as me. Which was awesome.
I had played handball in the same club for 15 years and the year Linda joined (my second year in the first team) I felt like I really belonged, for maybe the first time, really. There was never a question that everyone was invited, and she invited this tall, introvert and insecure small-town-girl to every activity, and made it feel as easy and natural as if we’d been friends forever.
Her apartment was the setting for most hangouts and we quickly started calling it ”Lindas youth center”. We made dinner after practise, we baked and watched movies, and it was the setting for a few pre- and after parties. It was a place where everyone was invited and a place of fun and community.
She quickly learned the difference between a small town and the capital she was from, and it brought the rest of us a lot of laughter. At times, she was a big fish in a small pond, but I think both of them rubbed of on one another, in a good way.
She has been through hell, to many times to count. We went through the burning pit together the last time around, the worst for both of us. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been through it, but it’s not just a sports injury. It’s your whole life. The way you live. The way you perceive yourself, how others perceive you. Your dreams. All being shattered in the blink of an eye. And then you think the worst part of it is over, but it’s not. Surgery after surgery, physiotherapy again and again. The physical pain is actually something you get used to, pushing yourself hard is a part of your everyday. The psychological pain, however, that’s the one that will break you. Her time as one of the most promising handball players ended in the worst possible way. But. Silver lining, for me at least, is that we had each other. For me, that made all the difference. We went to the physiotherapist together, we went to the gym and did as much as we could to get better – together. I want to get this out there, without her, I’d still be on my couch feeling depressed and not knowing how to move forward. Moreover, I would have never gotten through it with (most of) my sanity left.
Some people come into your life and shake it up completely. Shows you who you can be. Or just sees you. Linda is one of these people. I’m ever so grateful that she decided to move to a little town called Skövde.
If you would choose three things in your life, that has shaped you the most as a person, what would it be? (I’ll ask all the women this so you get their own reflection about their life and who they are. The reflektion is in both Swedish and English, because it’s her own – Swedish – words)
Det är svårt att hitta tre saker specifikt. Men, om jag ska välja tre så blir det
- Mina motgångar i livet
- Familj och vänner
It’s hard to choose three things specifically. But, if I was to choose three
- My setbacks in life
- My family and friends
Is this why she’s strong you ask, the hell and the injuries? Yes, and no. It’s what her strength endured, and created, and saved. She is so much more than what she dreamt she could be. She is by far one of the strongest women I know, not because of what she went through, but how she did it.
I call her superwoman, and it’s not only because of our joined love of superhero movies, but because that is what she is. When she puts her mind to something, she succeeds at it. She likes challenges and rises to every occasion. She is strength, in both mind and body.
Ambition. Strive. Courage. Confidence. And, a believe in yourself, are all things that I admire in her, and what I hope others will learn from as well, I know I have.
LINDA, THIS IS YOUR SONG
(I’ll walk through hell with you, again)