...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Monday, April 30, 2007

'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?

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Blogger Nature Girl said...

I would've been REALLY ticked off if I got that fortune. I think I would've asked for a new one if I were you! I hate team sports with a passion, and I too was always picked last. The only game I ever truely enjoyed was a redneck version of what most people call dodge ball. We called it murder ball and played with baseballs. It was the one sport the boys didn't beat me at.

Monday, April 30, 2007 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

Let me first of all give you kudos for the new profile pic. That is a much better view of the kick ass rack. And the hair? As a kid I had a thing for girls with red hair. still do actually. We just bought Summer some Intense red hair dye this weekend. Oh Yeah!

Well you made it much further than I did in my attempt at organized sports. I played football for the city league in my 8th grade year. Hated it! Can we say bench warmer?

That Tommy sure was a slick kid wasn't he.

Monday, April 30, 2007 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

Forgot add something.

Were those actually capitol letters in this post? For a moment I thought I was at the wrong blog. :D

Monday, April 30, 2007 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Love the pic... Fortune cookies like those are only good if you follow the in bed rule...
You simply must add "in bed" to the end of every fortune/statement out of the cookies....
You like partcipating in competive sports.... in bed...
See? so much better isn't it?

Monday, April 30, 2007 5:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be the exact same way, playing little league was very similar; hated every moment of it. Hopefully you tossed that straight away and grabbed another cookie for a better fortune.

Monday, April 30, 2007 6:06:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I haven't read any of the post yet. I'm busy marking on my calendar that this is the day that you gave in and started using caps.

My work here is done.

Monday, April 30, 2007 8:16:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

Okay, I'm back. I actually read the post this time. You knew I couldn't stay away.

I'll go ahead and say that I played many sports growing up, and I still do, and I love them very much. Perhaps as much as you like referencing show tunes and old movies and ethnic cuisine.

But as a kid, I was growing about 12 inches every year and I had little coordination. I don't think you could even give me a run for the money in the "gangly" department. Plus, I didn't even have a kickass rack to distract people.

I was a starter on my junior high basketball team, due to my height and the fact that we were a tiny school that completely sucked. That 182 to -75 score you mentioned? We would have been the team with -75. We seriously scored four points in a game once. In fact, I started every game, and I scored four points. The whole season.

If you'll excuse me, I think I need to bring this up with my therapist.

Monday, April 30, 2007 8:25:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

I played softball until jr. high--then I became too cool for that. I was an excellent player too...emphasis on was.

Shall we make a pact never to read another fortune?

BTW...are you feeling better? sorry about the sniffles from post below


Monday, April 30, 2007 9:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Savage stole my thunder as to how you could make peace with the cookie. My history with team sports was more like FTN's except that on my Jr. High Basketball team I was a benchwarmer on a very good team. if we had a lead of 40 the coach felt it was safe for me to go in. My one season of high school baseball resulted in one hit on my last at bat of the season. Thank God for church league softball later on to give me a few moments of athletic glory.

zoatd (what's going on here?)

Monday, April 30, 2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

I played Jr High sports but in High School, fate lended a hand and screwed up my schedule. I, quite by mistake, found journalism rewarding. I soon spent hours in the dark room learing the fine are of photography and even finer art of 'borrowing' the negatives taken during pep rallies of other kick ass racks. Mmmmm.

Monday, April 30, 2007 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Recovering Soul said...

Okay, so I'd just like to point out that while you are amazed that your son has such athletic passion, perhaps he got that from the other half of his genetic material? Not to burst your bubble.

And I don't think you should claim blog ignorance about how to link and whatnot if you are able to change your picture once a week.

I was always the middle of the road athlete... not the best, but not the last chosen. Let's hear it for the middle of the road players, YEAH!

Monday, April 30, 2007 2:11:00 PM  
Blogger ArtfulDodger said...

Awesome post as usual. I have to say that I did in fact participate in team sports and had the opposite rea... y'know, that is just waaaay to long a story. Gotta save that for a post. hehe. At least now I know what I will be writing about later.

Anyway, nothing to be worried about here, totally normal and everything. Not everyone is cut out for the 'ol team sport thing. How about more individual sports? ;)

Monday, April 30, 2007 4:54:00 PM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

I'm sorry. I don't know why it is but when I come to your page (5 times today at least) and see that picture of the base ball glove it always looks like a dirty picture. At least for a millisecond.

I know. I'm terrible.

Monday, April 30, 2007 6:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was never NEVER into competitive sports. And PE was the 1 class we always skipped. but... I was a cheerleader. I know. Don't hate me. It was a looong time ago.

Monday, April 30, 2007 8:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate team sports.

I hate lazy fortunes that are a statement and not an actual fortune.

Are you my sister? LOL

Monday, April 30, 2007 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I can't remember the last time I saw a fortune cookie with an actual fortune. Now they're just full of proverbs and the like. It's as if someone sued The Fortune Cookie Manufacturers Of The World for fraud and they're now covering their asses.

Sorry. I realize that wasn't the point of your post. I'm an idiot.

Monday, April 30, 2007 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Crazy Computer Dad said...

Competitively speaking, Savage beat me with the "in bed" statement. Now I hate competitive sports, fortunes, and competitive blogging. Taking my browser and going home. Too much emphasis on competition, not enough on fun. :-) Run, hit, catch, throw, have a beer, repeat until have a beer is the only thing you can still do. The best sports are the ones you can play with your friends, laugh all the way through, and nobody knows what the score is.

Monday, April 30, 2007 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Stacie - Growing up, we played dodge ball and kick ball in my front yard (thanks to those perfect trees serving as bases, naturally!). I love those games. My boys are insane for dodgeball, but most of that is fueled by the fact that they can quote the movie. I don't know if that's good or bad parenting on my part. "Here, watch a movie rather than go out and *actually* play dodgeball!"

Confused - I love that the majority of us all come from the land of benchwarmers! Or, in my case, "hide out in the last bathroom stall on the third floor'ers!" I also love that people think I'm so devilish redhead. Tommy would have probably loved it, too, but by the time high school rolled around, he was impregnating girls other than myself at such a rapid clip, he barely had time to notice!

Savage - I keep forgetting this "in bed" addendum to fortunes. Tacking that on of course makes me a team player, but I do my fair share of individualized practice.

Nocturnal - Somehow you just don't strike me as the Little League type. At all. I've saved this fortune for now, though, to see how it plays with the few others I have that may or may not see the light of day.

ftn - are you happy now? does it make you delirious with joy that i eventually cave to your every whim? i do, you know. your efforts here were most commendable. kinda like those you must have displayed all the basketball court, eh? our hoop in the driveway just went back up for the season if you're ever in the area. i'll admit, the rack makes the layups just a smidge more difficult, but i'm inclined to try.

Nanette - Oh, just the word "softball" makes me a bit woozy. Flashbacks and all. Cripes, that lady who was our coached screamed. A lot. At me. I sucked.

And despite a bit of a relapse at work tonight, I'm feeling ok. Thanks for asking!

Finished - I've actually avoided church events that included things like touch football games and the like for fear of being pulled into the action. I can't emphasis enough how badly I play amongst others depending on me!

Finding Heart - Ah, the allure of the written word. I shall claim that as the reason I opted out of such physical sport. Though I never spent any time in the darkroom browsing through negatives. I never took photos until I worked at a newspaper post college. I did, however, do something in a darkroom that had very little to do with rolling or developing film. At all.

RS - I spotted your comment just before I had to leave for work, and I must admit, I've been laughing uncontrollably about your thought that my husband's genes may have contributed to our son's athletic ability. I think I have played on more competitive teams (at a record 2) than he has in his life. He doesn't even watch sports. I was going to include that in my post and forgot.

Aside from that, for the most part, it really is all about me!

And goodness...Et tu, RS? Giving me a hard time on the linkage thing as well. Sigh...I thought I was appeasing the world with my photo. A photo I hadn't changed in six months, mind you!

Art - I'm amazing in the individualized sports department! Amazing! Totally MVP. Were I a team, I'd dump Gatorade on myself and carry me out of the place on my shoulders!

Confused - Very interesting. This begs the question just what, pray tell, do you think this picture looks like? And how many more times have you knocked around here today?! It's my scintillating writing, isn't it?

Heather - Oh, I could write a post on my PE experiences themselves! Or, as we liked to refer to it, "Four years of volleyball and Loser Laps." Good times.

I shall forgive you the cheerleader thing. We don't always know what we're doing in high school!

DFP - I'm just going to count my bellydancing, kick boxing and whatever else I do as a sport and never again be on a team. I will also try to avoid lazy fortunes. And I'm inclined to think we'd make a rather interesting sibling match up!

Chag - My post actually was going to take the approach you took in your comment, which you wrapped up nicely in what would have taken me 65 paragraphs!

CC Dad - Oh...now...if they had had beer while I was playing team sports, then it would have been a different story altogether! An entirely inappropriate one, but still. I may have considered even going out for track, had such been the case! Eh, who am I kidding! I run for nothing! So feel free to come back and play.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

I'm not going to let you into my little perverted world. There just isn't enough room at the moment.

How many times have I been here today? Look at your site meter and you'll have all the answers you need. :D

As to why I come back? It's a toss up between the kick ass rack and the scintillating writing.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 1:17:00 AM  
Blogger Edtime Stories said...

I have a challenge on blog:
Read it and the comment will make sense.

I truly feel your writing makes me smarter. You challenge me to think more about word play. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

Hey... just wanted to say - first time I'm reading and love your blog. Found you through Chag.

I never really liked competitive sports, either. And I totally agree with you about the slacker-ness that's going on with fortune cookies these days. I mean... what is that? My own blog was started after I got a fortune cookie that said "one of these days, you will realize how futile your life really is" which is not only a statement, but a damn depressing one at that.

I'll be back. :0)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 8:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i tell myself i am not competitive and don't like sports, but i'm the first to get involved in a game of any kind (volleyball, softball, you name it) and the first to get mad over it. and pretty much any boyfriend i've ever had has told me i'm way too competitive. maybe cuz i challenged them all to arm wrestling...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 2:39:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Confused - I notice the kick ass rack gets mentioned before the scintillating writing.

That's ok. I probably do the same thing. A lot. Especially on Thursdays.

Ed - Wow! That comment humbles me. Truly.

And then I wonder if you would think the same after browsing through my newest post!

Mrs. Fortune - So glad you've come by! I had but a brief chance to swing over your way today, but know I'm coming back, too!

I swear to you, if I had gotten the fortune you did, I would have framed it. Honestly. It pretty much screams out my life's mantra, fitting nicely with the whole "fake it until they figure you out" code I also live by.

You da mom - I should have so gotten into arm wrestling. I do, however, have a mean thumb wrestling technique.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 12:50:00 AM  

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