Friday, May 25, 2012

Games With Friends

When I was a kid, I hated gym. HATED gym.

Not because I didn’t like to play games – I love games!

But because I was always picked last.


Every. Damn. Time.

What you should know before I go any further is this: I went through elementary school with people I had known/gone to school with/played with since preschool. They had known me since I was about four. Most of them were fond of me, but they all knew this, too: I have asthma, I am accident prone, and no one wanted me on their team.

No one.


This may fall somewhere on the list of “things that are psychologically damaging,” though I am not absolutely certain as to where it would fall. I can tell you this for sure, though:  it doesn’t make you love sports.

Not even a little.

For a long time, I didn’t even watch sports. Because, please. Who cared? I was never going to be good at them. No one would ever want to play a sporty game with me. So what?

My body and I were not friends, I quickly realized. Junk lungs, no coordination, inability to run and scamper.

I tried to whip it into submission. I spent several years in college alternately overfeeding it and ignoring it, and then starving it and working it out obsessively. The problem with both of those scenarios, of course, is that I still regarded it not as the container which houses my soul, but as an enemy.

As the kid I would pick last, if I could pick.

This is all why it was weird when, in my thirties, I decided one day to say “Yeah, sure,” when my dad asked me if I wanted to go to the driving range.

Golf? That’s like -- a sport.

But okay. At least I’ll get out of the house. Even though, the last I checked, I was still the uncoordinated goofus who couldn’t hit a ball if her life depended on it. Even though I hate sports.

The thing I quickly realized, though, is this: My life didn’t depend on it. Though I didn’t perform spectacularly on my first day at the driving range – Tiger Woods I ain’t – I realized: I could be good at this.

This is something I could learn how to do.

And there’s no team, which is a plus.

I’m still learning to play golf – I’m taking formal lessons, with the idea that the next time I see my dad, I am taking him on! – but I’m also starting to learn this. My body is NOT my enemy. It’s not a miserable tangle of uncoordinated limbs and flesh and bad lungs. It’s my body. 

We could be friends.

Friends who go outside and play some golf.

*Well, MOSTLY Never. I was bizarrely good at floor hockey, probably because a) we only played it once a year and b) it’s not a real sport. You’re never going to see floor hockey in the Olympics. I was so good at it though, that I was usually a Captain – I got to pick my team. And I would start by picking the least athletic kid in the class, the one who was usually standing next to me at the end of every other team picking exercise. Who’s first NOW? HUH?

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