Sunday, September 16, 2012

" you play sports?"

This is a question I get a lot....and no, it's not because I'm in impeccable shape (definitely not) but rather because I'm taller than average (5'10.5'' for those of you who were wondering).

I don't know in what universe "tall" became an indicator for "athletic ability" but I am living proof that this is not always the case. See, I like to say that I am "athletically challenged"...and for good reason. Let me walk you through my sporting history......

My first memory of sports is when I was in co-ed soccer...I think I was about 5? My dad was coaching the team and he so earnestly desired that his first-born would be the athletic prodigy that every father dreams of.
Sorry to disappoint, Pops.
My only motivation to even participate in the practices and games was that I had a crush on the other coach's son. He was blonde and dreamy and so you can understand why my young heart was a crushin'. I specifically remember that my dad had written out nametags for one of the first practices (because who can keep 10 youngsters straight?) and in an attempt to get the attention of the young man my heart longed for, I took my nice-and-sticky nametag off and put it over my mouth, pretending that I couldn't talk...hoping he'd think I was funny. He, of course, fell for my tricks.....aaaand so did the rest of the team. Pretty soon the entire practice was down the toilet due to the coach's flirtatious daughter.
Again, sorry Pops.
Nothing else about my soccer career sticks out other than the granola bars we got at the end of the game and the fact that I hated running because it made me tired.
It only goes up from here!

I did some maturing and by 4th grade, I was (slightly) less boy-crazy and was ready to venture into the sport of softball. Plus, teams were no longer co-ed so that was no longer a factor. Now, as some background info, my brother had been playing baseball for a couple years by now and I saw that he got to experience the wonders of the concession stand after every game....and I wanted a piece of that action.
The first year I played softball, we wore ugly maroon jerseys (definitely wasn't in it for the fashion statement) and when I even got to play, I was ALWAYS placed in the outfield. Not that I blame my coach...I wasn't very good. I only played the infield once and that was because we were short players so I had my moment to shine as shortstop...and no balls came to me. Not that I could complain, that also meant that I couldn't mess up. But no worries, next season would offer me many opportunities to make a royal fool of myself.
5th grade softball was more intense...this time it wasn't just the coach who wanted us to perform well, but my teammates were more invested. Which meant more pressure for me...and also meaning that when I messed up, it was more tragic. Like that one time that I didn't realize that you actually had to step on home plate in order for the run to count. Yeah. That actually happened. I was on third and got walked in and thought that since the run was a given, I could just go straight to the dugout...which, when you think about it, really does make sense, but nooooo the ump had to go ahead and pull my coach and I aside and grill me as to whether or not I touched home plate. Whoops. Needless to say, the run didn't count and my team wasn't too happy with dumdum me...
By the end of that 2nd season, I had realized that it wasn't just being on a softball team that allowed you to choose a treat from the concession stand, it was my mom who had to give money each week to the coach to cover my treat-getting. Aaaaand I could get concession stand food without having to embarrass myself on the field? Score.

When it came to Junior High, there were intramural volleyball teams tryouts, a lot more low-key....definitely up my alley. And I enjoyed it! I was actually pretty good...and I still have a mean serve. This was when I realized that my dislike wasn't actually for athletics (although to this day, I HATE running of any kind)...rather, I can't stand that competitive pressure that teammates (and coaches) put on you as a player. Sure, I like to win...doesn't everyone? But what I like even more is HAVING FUN. And it is called a "game" after all...aren't games supposed to be fun?

Some people are naturally coordinated and skilled when it comes to sports...take my brother, the all-around athlete, or my neighbor who is a fantastic linebacker and (3rd in State)wrestler. But for those of us who just enjoy the camaraderie and (tiny tiny tiny) amount of exertion that comes with playing physical games, shouldn't the focus be on fun? Maybe that's why in High School I focused more on dance and music, but I still do enjoy a game of sand volleyball...that is, if my team can understand and respect that my goal is to have fun...yes, I'll try to do well, but if I'm not all that great, don't yell at me man! It's definitely not going to make me better.

What's the point? that is a great question.

1 comment:

  1. Sooo don't play sports? But you're so tall. Does not compute (said in a robot voice, of course). All short people are still cheerleaders/gymnasts though, right? And wearing glasses still makes you smart?


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