Search This Blog

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Unnatural Athleticism

I know it has been a while since I've written in this space, and since my last entry, a lot has happened.  Perhaps one of the most tragic events to have taken place was the deadly bus crash in Saskatchewan which killed sixteen players and affiliates of the junior hockey team The Humboldt Broncos.  To pay tribute to the team, as well as sending support to the survivors of the crash, I will be writing this blog entry in the colours of the team - green and gold. 

And I will also post the link to the official GoFundMe page for the team.  As of this writing, it has already raised over nine million dollars!  Just click on the link below to donate.

Another thing that people have been doing to show support to the Broncos is placing hockey sticks outside of their front porches, and wearing hockey jerseys of their favourite teams.  And while I think this is a lovely gesture of showing support, the most that I can even do is wear the team colours to work later on tonight.

The truth is...I don't own any hockey sticks, and I don't have any hockey jerseys.  In fact, I don't really own any sports equipment at all - well, except for a basketball that I won back in 1989 after collecting all of the hockey cards for a contest our local hockey team hosted.

Truth be told...I wasn't a natural athlete.  I'm still not a natural athlete.  The thing about it is that these days, I'm perfectly okay with it and have made peace with it.  And I'll explain why that is the case at the end of this entry.

But I wasn't always okay with not being athletically gifted.  Truth be told, I absolutely hated it once upon a time.

I think from an early age, I realized just how much of a lack of co-ordination I had.  My balance skills were always off, I had a lack of motor skills.  I didn't learn to swim until I was 21 years old, and I never really learned how to operate anything with wheels.  Well, except maybe a skateboard...which I used to pull my stuffed animals around. 

It wasn't until I got into school that I realized just how poor an athlete I was (and how cruel kids could really be, but that was a different issue altogether).  I was always the kid that was picked last for sports teams, but was always the first kid to be knocked out during a rousing match of Super Swedish Dodge Ball.  Yeah, just add insult to injury there. 

It also didn't help matters much when we were playing games like baseball or volleyball and the kids we were playing against would purposely move up towards the net or towards the diamond - silently antagonizing you and making you feel as though you were going to choke - when 99% of the time, that's what happened.  Okay, I get it.  I sucked at sports.  Did you really find it necessary to rub it in my face?

The worst was when we had the special sports days in school where we all had to take part in various track and field events, and the top three finishers would win various awards and medals for their effort.  In almost every single event, I came in dead last.  The only event that I placed in was the bowling event - and the school I attended didn't even have a prize for it because it was a last minute addition and they didn't see it as a sport worth rewarding! 

(I often wonder if they created that bowling event just to appease terrible athletes like myself...)

The most I could hope for was a participation ribbon.  And I am the type of person who absolutely HATES participation ribbons because they serve as nothing but devices to reward mediocrity.  It's like an award that says "you have zero talent, but here's a prize anyway because we feel sorry for you".  At this point, it would have made me feel less awkward getting nothing out of it.

And, of course, the ultimate insult.  My grade for gym was a C-minus.  Completely destroying my grade point average for eighth grade graduation in which it was the only grade on my report card that wasn't an A.  I still recall getting my final report card in eighth grade and cursing the school for putting so much importance on physical education, and I think the 14-year-old me deemed it an injustice that I even had to take gym class in the first place because there was no way that I would ever get an A in the subject no matter how hard I tried.

Mind you, now that I'm an adult, I understand just how important physical education is, and I get why I didn't do so well.  Partly it was my fault.  I knew I couldn't compete with all of the jocks in the class, so after a while I just stopped trying. 

But I think that there were other things that prevented me from being a great athlete.  I was chunky as a kid (and let's face it, I'm a chunky adult now).  That slowed me down a lot.  I also had asthma, which caused me to lose my breath a lot quicker than other kids my age.  And let's face it...having poor hand/eye co-ordination was more of a curse than a blessing.

But you know what?  It's all good now.

So I'll never win an Olympic gold medal, or wear a Super Bowl Champion ring, or even win the Boston Marathon.  But there are other things that I know that I am good at, and part of navigating through life is figuring out what makes you great and going towards that dream with every breath inside of you.

We all have it in ourselves to be great - regardless of whether you can catch a ball or not.

No comments:

Post a Comment