Zaida AronovskyThe Morning Rush
5:00am—Alarm sounds. Hit the snooze button.
5:30am—Out of bed. Hit the shower.
6:15am—Kiss the kids goodbye. Hit the road.
7:30am—Arrive at client site. Hit the laptop to prepare for a full day of meetings.

So begins a typical day in the life of Title Nine customer Zaida Aronovsky, information systems consultant, wife, and mother of three girls. It’s a day that rarely ends before midnight.

Zaida CheerleadingWhy such long hours? In addition to working full time and running a household, Zaida makes time to pursue her other passion—sports. She began her athletic career on the sidelines in junior high—not warming the bench, but willing teams to victory as a cheerleader. She went on to become a member of the Platt High School cheerleading squad that launched an eight-year winning streak at city competitions throughout central Connecticut. What’s more, Zaida was not just any cheerleader. She was the brave soul at the top of the pyramid. At 5 feet 2 inches tall and 110 pounds, it’s a feat that 44-year-old Zaida could likely pull off even today.

It seems Zaida’s cheerleading days were good training for her current career as a project manager. What do cheerleading and project management have in common? Strategy, teamwork and execution. “I get a kick out of planning, bringing together a group of people, making something happen, making it successful, having people communicate. You have a mission and implement it successfully—that’s what I’m all about, whether it’s professionally or athletically.”

Midday Madness
These days, fitting in a workout often means cutting corners, and for Zaida that usually entails skipping meals. “Working through lunch is the norm. I have a Balance bar and fruit or 100-calorie cookies for something sweet.”

With a hectic schedule like hers, you might peg Zaida for a java junky, but you’d be wrong. “I gave up caffeine when I became pregnant with my first child,” Zaida says, “and I never went back.”

Kickin’ It After Work
Zaida and kidsAfter 6:00pm or so, you’ll find Zaida either kickin’ it at home with her kids or kickin’ it on the soccer field with her teammates. Most nights she heads home, helps make dinner, and enjoys some rowdy play time with her daughters—Katrina, Sofia, and Jessica, ages eight, six, and four. At around 8:00pm, she begins the process of putting the girls to bed. It’s an event that often takes an hour. Somewhere around 9:00pm, she sneaks in a 30 to 45-minute workout on her Total Gym, using both the weights and the bike. Then she snags some quiet time with her husband Nate before settling in to work on soccer league business and answer emails for a couple hours.

One special night a week, Zaida plays soccer, a sport she picked up 15 years ago when she attended a co-ed drop-in clinic run by former All-American Dave Fromer. Her soccer career quickly evolved into a quest to create the perfect soccer league for women—one that would be both competitive and accommodating to women of all skill levels.

What began as a team of eight friends posting flyers has grown into two leagues—the Marin Women’s Soccer League and the more competitive Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League for players over 35. Together, the leagues have enabled hundreds of women to build sports into their lives in a fun and accessible way. They have developed Zaida’s game, as well.

“When I began at thirty-something they started me up front, but I didn’t have a lot of skills,” Zaida says. “I learned. I learned quickly. I realized eventually that I liked playing defense.” Now Zaida is versatile—she plays fullback on the wing, stopper, and sweeper.

A big reason why Zaida plays is to be a good role model for her girls. “I think it’s important for them to see that I’m active.” Nate often brings the girls to watch Zaida’s weekend games and they love hanging out on the sidelines. “It’s just the best feeling when you are coming off the field after the game and you have this kid running to you screaming, ‘Mom!,’ and they give you a really big hug.”

Getting Some Girl Time
Soccer nights are special for more reasons than one. After the game, usually around 8:00pm, the team heads out for a beer and a bite. It’s some cherished big girl time that Zaida describes as a highlight of her week. The women Zaida has met through soccer are more than just teammates; they are among her closest friends.

By the time Zaida gets home at 9:30pm or so, the girls are already in bed. Needless to say, Zaida skips the Total Gym on soccer nights. Otherwise, her nighttime ritual is largely the same as any other evening—some alone time with Nate, attending to soccer league business, and answering work emails.

Sometime around midnight, it’s finally lights out. In a handful of hours, Zaida will be up and at it all over again. You go girl!

Do you make time for a team sport in your life? Is it worth the effort?