'never win first place. i don't support the team'
In junior high, I played community softball.
Well, my parents thought I played community softball, and I certainly showed up for all the games, where I took my rightful place in the outfield and prayed I'd never have to catch a ball or take a turn at bat. But when it came time to practice for all these horrific games, I'd often feign forgetfulness and could be found hiding out in the bathrooms in the school next to where we practiced. Better yet, I'd develop a raging case of the dreaded menstrual cramps, excuse myself from the torture and then ride my bike around town or hide out in the city park for two hours until it would be time for me to return home.
I hated every aspect of this team approach to activities. I hated not knowing what I was doing. I hated not having any given ability to figure things out. I hated the coaches screaming and never actually remembering we were a bunch of 11 and 12 year old girls. I hated those 11 and 12 year old girls who forgot we were friends from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday while in school and then yelled out vile taunts to anyone not as skilled as they were while on the practice field.
So in case you haven't figured it out, I actually do not like participating in competitive sports. The thought of it makes me break out in a sweat, a bit of a panic. Even now, decades removed, I drive by the same ball diamonds we played at and am a little bit amazed I didn't pull a "Carrie" on the asses of some of those teammates.
Plus, as an aside, let me just add I get a little bit irritated (not enough to lock you in a gymnasium and burn you alive, of course, so take a deep breath and play along) because seriously, this fortune that I retrieved from a fortune cookie a couple weeks ago isn't even a freakin' fortune! What kind of slacker fortune cookie simply gives you a statement? And a lie to boot!
Oh, sure, you're going to say, "Wait just one gosh darn minute there, __________ (fill in the blank with whatever you wish to call me)! You sure didn't seem to mind your crispy little cookie when it was all up on you, telling you "you look pretty." Of course you're right. I simply have no argument when the statement is screaming in facts and total accuracy! But this one stating my fondness for competitive sports is purely a means of mocking me. Thus, it becomes blog fodder, my friends. Join me, won't you?
So you'd think, after my stellar debut softball season (One and done, baby! One and done!), I'd have hung up my efforts and poor sportsmanlike conduct and gone back to reading and hiding out in my bedroom, wouldn't you? Ha! Fooled you! Hell, fooled me! For some shocking reason, following the softball season, I figured, "Hey! That was a rousing success! How about joining the school basketball team? The uniforms are oh so beautiful and you just know it's going to be a ton of fun!"
(Yes, I actually did/do talk to myself quite a bit, and, it would seem, I did/do so as if I were a character in an episode of "Happy Days")
Here's why I actually thought basketball wouldn't be so bad. When I wasn't hiding out in my bedroom, staging productions of "Grease" in my patio, or being sullen, I spent a lot of time in my driveway shooting baskets with Tommy, yet another in the long line of boys blissfully unaware that they were intended to claim my family's dowry. Because I could make some pretty decent shots here and there, I was obviously a basketball star! The seventh grade team needed me!
Yeah. Not so much. I figured that one out pretty quickly when I was spending a lot of time way down on the bench, far enough away from the coach (a.k.a. Mr. Mobley, my sixth grade social studies teacher who looked like the Burger King) that I needed to pack an extra pair of clothes and maybe a snack in the event I didn't return to my family in a timely fashion.
When and if I actually did get to play (say we were beating the worst team in our district 182 to -75), well, then I deduced that the reason I was making so many great shots in the driveway with Tommy was because he was letting me. He was also letting me bend over to catch his lame passes so he could take a look down my tank tops for a glimpse at the burgeoning kick ass rack.
(Give me a moment here. I'm going to take a pause in order to smirk and perhaps pat myself on the back for actually using the word "burgeoning." Thank you for your patience.)
In the competitive arena, I was simply gangly, confused, bored, unable to concentrate, failing in my quest for perfection, and wearing a truly heinous outfit. Kind of like I am most days, really. Some things never leave you. Thus, I've retained my disdain for participating in competitive sports. However, as the perpetually "last picked girl," I'm having to shake some of this resentment and whatnot off because my oldest son is insane for such team endeavors and I wish to only support and encourage him and not let my humiliation and sense of whatever that drives this long-held disdain I possess rub off on him.
And so far, so good, I have to say, I've not been doing too bad. I've been attending his YMCA basketball games for five years now, and while I admit I still don't always have a clue what's going on, I am never not amazed that this boy who came from me has such an athletic passion and ingrained knowledge of the sport. I love the look of accomplishment on his face when he reaches a goal, but I love even more that he supports his teammates.
I also love that he doesn't beg me for my fortune cookies, thus allowing me an opportunity to rant when I have nothing else to write about! Thank goodness this blogging gig isn't a team effort, eh?