Monday, April 4, 2011

getting off the couch, part i.

 {3rd grade champs. Can you spot yours truly?}

I was in the seventh grade, and I had just been cut from the junior high girls’ basketball team. I wasn’t devastated; I was angry. I had gone to the girls’ locker room with my friends, and when I made a quick scan of the list and couldn’t find my name, I marched myself down to the coach’s office to ask why. (I was stubborn and a little bit gutsy, even back then.) I’ll never forget what that coach said:

“Annie, I’m sorry, but if I put you out there, you’re going to get killed. You’re just too small — too short and too skinny.”

I was seething. How dare he, this man — who I promise you was probably 5’6”, tops — call me too short and too skinny? I had endured hours of conditioning; I never missed a session. I had been named a camp all-star at the school's summer program just a few months previous. And now I was being cut from a team of my friends and classmates not for lack of skill, but for lack of size?

Clearly, I’m still a little bitter about it, mostly because, come on. I was 13. What is the point of even cutting people from a team of something at 13? It’s not like this is serious competition. We weren’t even in high school yet! Just give me a jersey and stick me on a bench with the rest of the scrawny, freckle-faced girls who will never touch a basketball post-high school. I’ll be fine.

But I digress.

My pride recovered fairly quickly. I’ve never been one to be disappointed for too long, so I developed a solution. I’d just join a team practically begging for short and skinny people: track and field.

I didn’t really like it as much as basketball (I distinctly remember failing to understand the purpose behind running in a constant circle), but I never missed a practice. And the day of my first meet, when I participated in the 800-meter and the 4x400, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. I was a teammate, a contender. I, short and skinny basketball team reject, was an athlete.

Then I promptly arrived at home, where I ran into our kitchen wall and broke a toe, thus ending my very brief track and field career.

What I’m saying is this: I have always wanted to be athletic. Even in high school, when I finally realized that I just wasn’t good enough and resigned myself to the world of academia, there was a part of me that wanted to be on the team. I wanted my skinny legs to take me across finish lines and earn me trophies.

In college, I played intramural sports as consolation — not terribly, but not terribly well, either. I worked out at my university’s gym. I started jogging with Jordan, and I finally felt like maybe, just maybe, I was giving my body what it deserved.

Fast forward a few years to me sitting on the couch with a good book and the remote control.

Because today, I am a reject of all things athletic.

I tried yoga, and couldn’t get through a session without bursting into a fit of giggles. That, and the fact that I couldn’t touch my toes, proved to be a bit of a problem.

I joined a gym (which you can read about here) but hated the sweaty equipment, the imaginary stares from fellow gym users, and the Arnold Schwarzenegger wannabes.

I’ve bicycled and jogged and walked. I’ve tried getting up early and going as soon as I get home from a work.

So far, nothing has stuck.

But this year, I’m thinking about trying something new. A check-this-off-your-list regimen, readymade for a list-lover like me.

Come back tomorrow to a) find out what it is, and b) tell me I’m crazy. 

(P.S.~ Do you have any funny sports stories from when you were younger? Junior high basketball rejects like me want to know.)


Brittany said...

Annie, I think it is extremely likely that we've lived the same athletic life! Although, I doubt that anyone would tell me now that I'm too small for something. I bought an elliptical machine several months ago. It has sat in the corner in its 'space saver' position for the last 3 months...

Laken said...

When I was in 6th grade, I was on the track team and I ran the 50 yard dash and the 4 person relay. I kicked butt on the 50 yard dash -- mainly because I was so scared to run in front of people that I sprinted just so I could go sit back down. But then when the relay race came around, I was the first leg. I was doing good and keeping up -- until it came time to hand the baton off. And apparently my hands forgot how to let go -- because when I tried to give the baton to the next girl in line, I just kept holding on. She pulled it away from me and I fell right onto my face. But just like any 6th grade girl, I had no intentions of admitting that I was the one who fell and since it happened on the opposite side of the track, no one could tell who it was. So when we got back to the stands, everyone was asking "Who fell?" and I claimed to not know -- until someone asked me why both my knees were bleeding. Then I was ousted.

And unfortunately, that's only the tip of my embarrassing sports stories!

Sugar Mama said...

Your smile is EXACTLY the same! Love it! :o)

Jennifer said...

Um yes. That was me. Small, skinny...the last pick for all teams...yes. That was me. I ran track and field too, because it was the only sport I could play. My hand eye coordination is really bad.

I need to get off the couch too. I used to run all the time. Glad you are doing this. I might actually get my butt over to the park and run...tomorrow...maybe... :)