In American culture, sports are big. Many kids play a sport while growing up and sometimes continue to play throughout high school. Well, not me, but not because I didn’t try. Sports just aren’t for me. Allow me to share.
In my little neighborhood, the city offered tennis lessons at its courts. The same guy has taught the lessons for decades. In fact, I am pretty sure his name is still on the marquee, offering lessons. My parents signed me up when I was about 12.
Well, this guy would bring his yappy pomeranian to the court every day. He’d backhand a tennis ball and the dog would go retrieve it. This would occur for about the first 10 minutes of every single lesson. It was exhausting to pretend to be entertained by this, but I did it for the instructor. After about eight lessons, I finally cracked. My attitude bursts out! Like, seriously, I was there for lessons, but to watch a dog run around the court; if I wanted to watch a dog run, I could have gone home to do it.
When I returned for my lesson the following day, the jerk of an instructor told me I didn’t have any more lessons scheduled due to the fact that I obviously did not want to be there.
Hence, my tennis career was over.
Not many know, but I was in Girl Scouts while growing up. Every year, we had a father-daughter softball game. I usually balked at the idea of attending because I wasn’t a sporty or outdoorsy person at the time. One year, I decided that I would actually put a little effort into it. I was maybe like 7 at the time.
So down to the field my father and I went. We played and I actually did decently. Well, I didn’t embarrass the family, let’s just say. Afterwards, we went to my grandparents’s house which was around the corner from the fields.
My father shared my dislike of the sport with my grandfather. Grandpapa made a face and said that he was sure I was an alright player. He took the softball from my dad’s hand and tossed it towards me…while I was holding a bat.
I made contact with the ball. The clang of the contact echoed as we all watched the ball go flying.
The ball then made contact with the side of Grandpapa’s van.
Dad then pointed out, while all the faces were agape in surprise, that he never said I couldn’t hit, just that I didn’t like to hit.
No one ever tossed a softball towards me again.
When I was in middle school, basketball was a popular sport. I wasn’t super sporty, but thought I’d try out anyway in an attempt to make a name for myself. I practiced some, but obviously not enough.
On the day of tryouts, I had no clue what I was doing. Layups? Foul shots? A different language. For one of the drills, another player was supposed to throw me the ball and then I would shoot it. I thought, “Yeah, I can do this. Totally.”
I could not do it, though. Instead of catching the ball properly, I decided to use two fingers on my left hand to block the stupid thing. At the point of impact, I felt a searing pain shoot up those two fingers and I knew then that my basketball career was over as well.
Thinking it was just jammed fingers, my parents gave me some ice. The next morning, with four distinctly purple lines (two on my ring finger and two on my middle finger), my dad decided I should go to an orthopedist to X-ray and take a closer look. Good thing he did, because I had broken four bones in those two fingers and I was forced to wear some horrible looking metal contraption for six weeks (and before you say it: no, I was not allowed to bedazzle it in glitter to make it half way acceptable).
To this day, I am hesitant when it comes to touching a basketball.
Not only do I have a brother, I also have another sibling. Growing up, I often commented that my dad had a third child: golf. When he wasn’t at his office or hospital doing rounds, you could find him on the golf course. We had multiple golf clubs in our garage, perched along the wall next to the golf cart. So, it was basically natural that my brother and I take lessons from an early age.
Off and on through my early childhood, a club would be placed in my hand. I was a decent putter, but I just wasn’t super focused when it came to everything else involved in the game of golf. My father would take my brother out to hit balls on the city’s course, but I was told I couldn’t come because I talked too much. I’m not denying this, but it wasn’t like they were playing a real game at the time. Sheesh.
Finally, I was told, when I was in middle school, that I could try to take lessons again at our country club, which was hosting a golf clinic. So, I did, hoping that I’d get an invite to the outings my father and brother would have on the course.
On the second day of the clinic, I was at the end of the line, closest to the road…in hindsight, probably not the best place to put someone that doesn’t really focus on her surroundings, but that was totally the instructor’s fault. We had been swinging our drivers for what seemed like eternity. My hands were tired. Next thing I knew, I went to swing for the hundredth time and…I lost my grip on the club.
Yep, I turned to follow the trajectory of the club and watched as it bounced into the middle of the road. Luckily, there were no cars passing by at the time, but the sound caused the rest of the golf students and instructor to take notice of me standing mid-swing minus a club. Their eyes went to the road where it was laying.
I wasn’t invited back for any future lessons after that.