“Really, you did swim team?! You just don't seem like someone who does sports to me. You are just all..artsy.” she explains. I laugh and glance down at my attire. I am wearing a polka dotted pea coat, a pair of vintage heels I found in the back of a costume/antique shop and one of my customary hair ornaments: an oversized bow I made out of ribbon, in my short hair. You know, the usual.
“I guess I look like someone who wears heels to school.” I respond. We laugh again. I definitely do not look like a physically talented person. And that my dears, would be because I am most certainly not.
Which is not to say that I haven't tried to be. Maybe the years of dance, where teachers were graced with my lack of ability and probably left class wondering if I was the offspring of two left footed penguins, doesn't count. But surely the tennis lessons where I never hit the ball over the net, but instead over the fence of the court, repeatedly, counts for something. Not to mention the year I played basketball and lost the ball not to the other team, but from my own hands, rolling into the stands on various occasions. Or there was my short lived soccer career. In kindergarten, I was a proud member of the Fire Fairies. However, after being kicked in the head by an oversized first grader while protecting my ball, my short and inglorious career ended. I returned for a short stint in 4th grade for the Poison Oaks and played a blazing season of absolutely no wins. Our pizza party was fun, though.
I've run the mile in dresses. As for my tree climbing skills in heels and a skirt, I am unparalleled. I've done all six levels of swim lessons, the only sport I show any aptitude for and my dreams of being a skater girl are but a dim, distant, improbable future. I can officially skate about eight feet and not fall off the board. While doing ballet, I appear none so much as a small polar bear in a cheap circus act. I am a ball magnet, balls are magnetically attracted to my head. I do not understand this attraction in the least, as it is a rather small head that doesn't seem like such a wonderful target. However, I am convinced that is has something to do with the look of terror on my face as I realize in shock “Dang, that ball is about to hit me...” I am the queen of mini-golf fails and embarrassing P.E. moments. The girl who ends up always doing simple stretches wrong? Guilty. The girl who slips in her mismatched socks on the gym floor? My hand is raised.
But, I can swim. I'm not particularly fast, but my strokes are strong and my form is good. When I swim, I feel powerful. I feel free. So of the course, the immediate course of action was to take swim team. However, soon swim team began to pose some problems. First: do you know how many interesting bugs and leaves are at the bottom of a pool?! I would swim a lap and soon vanish into the blue water, searching for and picking up the interesting wildlife on the bottom of the pool.When I wasn't searching for it, I was often saving the various poor bugs that had fallen into the pool. Needless to say, my lap times were no record. The second problem posed was: the sun would set while I was in the pool, every night. Soon I would be caught staring up at the golden and often purple, setting of the sun. Writing poetry in my head, I would forget to swim. I lasted about two months. Maybe one day I will return to swim team, but don't expect me not to save the drowning bees.
And yet, I was blessed or maybe cursed with two moderately athletically talented brothers. I have been party to too many basketball and soccer games to count in my short, physically untalented life. So usually after making a few sarcastic comments about how young boys playing basketball look like angry crabs or trying not to glare at the passionate father in the stands yelling “THAT'S MY BOY!”, I turn to whatever activity I have brought to maintain my sanity. I have the “cheering-supportive-sister' bit down to a science. Every five minutes or so, I turn away from my doodles of tree nymphs or angsty poetry and yell “Go -insert name here- KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL! WOOH!” After fulfilling my supportive sisterly duty, I return to my world. Later in the car when my father beams about that shot brother 1 or brother 2 made, I will smile benevolently and reply:
“That was awesome!”
But the truth is, I have no idea what anyone is talking about. But it turns out, I am not alone. Through a few painful middle school memories (Um...teacher..I can't reach my toes...), and years of camp activities I have found that others share my issues. A race of nature loving-organized sport hating teenagers do exist. We're strange and not understand by a large percentage of the teenage population. We make cynical comments about the degradation of humanity at rallies and are often people incapable of walking in a straight line. We are the sort that when the entire camp begins to play volleyball, trail off into the fields and begin to make flower wreaths.
This is not to say my sort do not LIKE being active. In fact, I love being active and being surrounded by nature. We just don't like being forced like a pack of mules to sweat. We are the sort of people who tend to place themselves as far back in a line for kickball as possible. So this is for all the physically untalented dreamers who have no idea how to make a touchdown, who thought the Giants were just a baseball team and whose only experience with baseballs is through forced middle school games and Peanut episodes: you are not alone.