Dan (the “other” Dan) wrote a great piece about his childhood baseball experience as the team’s bench-warmer and his subsequent “disaffection,” shall we say, toward a prevailing obsession with sports. It’s not that he was poor at the game. Far from it, as you will learn when you read the story.
I share a similar cynicism. I, on the other hand, was lousy at sports. I couldn’t run. Good grief, I couldn’t even dance. I performed better than average on the balance beam until I “matured” and my center of gravity shifted. I enjoyed volleyball, but hated being in the front row near the net. Couldn’t spike to save my life. Understanding that I was uncoordinated, the high school coach put me in as goal-tender for the lacrosse team. That scared the hell out of me, those hard, little cannon balls whipping around the pitch. After one practice, I declared myself off the team. As I recall, no argument from coach.
The Phys. Ed. teacher was mightily disappointed in my inability to perform a layup shot in basketball. She thought I was a ringer since I towered over most of my classmates. I suspect that she got her revenge, later in the school year. She refused to allow me to go home until I successfully vaulted the horse.
You can imagine my relief when halfway through high school, administrators switched P.E. from obligatory to optional. I was overjoyed to rid myself of these humiliations and failures, not to mention the godawful blue bloomers.
Of course, all these years later, I realize that my injuries from a fall were responsible for my clumsiness and lack of strength on the courts. I am able to forgive my poor performance.
I have not, however, been able to overcome the negative sentiment I hold toward sports. For example, when I worked for the phone company, mornings found me in constant eye-roll mode as the guys fulfilled the obligation of replaying the previous night’s game. I didn’t get it then. I don’t get it now. I don’t imagine I ever will.
I have to ask myself why do I despise it so? Is it simply my introverted and parsimonious self that cannot abide the crowds, the noise, the long commutes and outrageous ticket fees?
Sure, that’s part of it. Back at the Bell Canada water cooler, my disdain was more about resenting the time wasted than it was the subject matter. (Yeah, I’m a petty party pooper. I like to hope that I’ve outgrown that.)Here’s the thing: I was part of the screaming high-school crowd in the 1972 cafeteria when Paul Henderson made his winning goal. See? I remember that without having to turn to my google fact checker. (I lied, I fact checked, after the fact. Wouldn’t want to be caught in a lie.)
I watched the Blue Jays win the World Series. Yes, they did! I’m not making this up.
[off she goes to fact check again.]
TWICE! In a row!!
I had a crush on Derek Sanderson. (Hm. Another who has the Sam Elliott thing goin’ on.) OK, that’s hormones in a hockey jersey, not a love of sport. But I’m in memoir mode.
Upon reflection, maybe it’s time to let go of my scorn for all things sporting. Well, maybe not all – I remain a cynic when big money is involved in any endeavour.
But I must thank Dan for triggering this recollection.
And Cee, who asked “What is something that people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?” I took this as confirmation that I needed to explore my unfair, some might say “unsportsmanlike” attitude toward sports.
All this to say, I get it. I do. I get the excitement, the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.
OH MY GOD! I’m channeling Howard Cosell!
Categories: Personal Growth
Tags: Share Your World