At this point, anyone who thinks I’m reaching the 100th "thing about me" before I die is kidding themselves. Originally, I had planned on taking this list slow so as to not bore everyone with a laundry list of facts without supporting commentary. That was two and a half months ago. At this rate, number 42 on the list will be “They revoked my flying car license because of glaucoma.”
But is my continuing education in the Israeli – Palestinian conflict has taught me anything it’s that just because something is impossible doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. So I continue down the list.
#5 I excel at leisure sports.
This isn’t even me bragging. This is just what my friends have told me. It’s not my fault I have incredibly astute friends who can’t help but notice my giftedness for pool, bowling, floor hockey, darts, climbing things and keeping a balloon in the air. Basically I’m a champion at anything you traditionally do while drinking. (The exception is dancing, although secretly I am convinced that if I wanted to I could dance like Paula Abdul in her prime. I just don’t want to.)
Historically, this particular athletic disposition hasn’t translated fully into the rest of the sports realm – namely the sports that people actually care about like baseball, football and basketball. It’s not that I can’t play these sports, because I’d consider myself above average in all of them (if average is not knowing how to put a cup on properly). It’s just that there was always something standing in the way of me becoming the great sports star I always dreamed I would be.
Take t-ball for example. I have an indelible memory of my aunt taking me to the first t-ball practice/game (do they even have t-ball practice?) when I was 4 or 5. I don’t recall if I stayed for the whole time, but I definitely recall not going back for a second or third time. Maybe it was my developmental dysfunction, maybe I thought it was an insult to my skills that the ball sat there right in front of you on a stand waiting to be hit; whatever the reason that ended my love affair with baseball.
Next came basketball when I was 8 or 9. I actually played for two whole seasons, an vast improvement over my previous experience. I don’t remember being very good, but I don’t remember anyone being very good – except for one kid on my team who wore spandex shorts under his regular gym shorts. At that age that’s the NBA equivalent of having a tattoo of your own face on your arm.
Sadly, my basketball career came to an end when I wore what I can only describe as the ugliest Velcro pants ever manufactured UNDER my gym shorts for the end of year team photo. (Reference the pants the kid has on in the t-ball photo for an example.) That is the NBA equivalent of slipping your locker-mate a note after a game that says, “I want you inside me.”
While the debacle could have scared me away from the whole sports scene, instead it just drove me to the fringes where I made myself at home playing hockey for the next eight years. And I was actually pretty good. Not good in the sense that I scored a lot of goals, but good in the sense that if someone was skating very fast towards me, I had the ability to run into him and more often than not hurt him more than myself.
And now I’m continuing my storied sporting tradition with a foray into a sport I’ve never played at all – volleyball. That’s right, along with a few of my friends (who are seasoned pros compared to me) I’ve joined a volleyball league here in the city. We had our first match last night and while I won’t say it was awful (we lost 3-0), I will say that we were overmatched by a team with three Asian players who seemed to be using some sort of code to communicate with one another.
I didn’t play too bad, although I did break every rule at least once and almost stepped on another player of mine while she lie prostrate on the ground. And I got a call from the league this morning asking me why I wrote my phone number in the place designated for my team name on the waiver of liability form. And, at any given point in the match someone had to point, not just tell me, but POINT to the spot on the floor where I should be, like a puppy who has peed on the tile and whose owner is now telling him so STAY! OVER THERE! STAY! And, all in all, volleyball is a lot harder than the tall, usually very attractive college girls on ESPN2 make it seem.
But the season is long and I have a good feeling about our team. One girl has already quit and one of our better players is going on an international expedition in a couple of weeks and missing the rest of the season. What I’m trying to say is, we can only get better from here. Rest assured, I will keep you updated.
On the bright side, I did make one awesome play. The other team had a perfect set for a spike but I went up and laid down a DOMINANT block. And let me tell you – the look on that girl’s face when the ball came right back at her, well it was priceless.