Monday, February 25, 2013
This is how I remember it.
I once played basketball. I can't remember exactly when I quit, but I think it was around the 7th grade. I am 5'9" tall. And my memory tells me that I've been this tall since birth. Towering over every kid in grade school and middle school.
I have never learned to walk in heels, because heels made me taller, and being taller (in my mind) made me less of a girl. I look like a newborn colt when I try to walk in heels. Plus, those fucking things are painful. I have never been strong enough to make it through the torture of those damn pretty shoes. I've missed out on that whole part of fashion, because I felt was freakishly tall (I am aware now that I wasn't) I felt like a dude, a freak, a lug, a slouch. And I wasn't! Or maybe I was.
Now I wish I was 6' tall and rail thin. Well... at least thin. No, no, I am happy just the way I am...
Anyhow, of course, being tall meant that I should play basketball. But I never had an ounce of self confidence to try being good. I was on a team. I even went to Jim Dutcher's basketball camp two years in a row. (We smoked cigarettes in our dorms) I hated every single second of it. Because I sucked. I would have probably been a great athlete, if I would have believed that I could handle the ball when it came to me. I never went after it after the tip-off, becuase I was afraid I would fuck it up. And when I finally did get the ball, I usually spazed out and fucked it up.
One game I remember well, I was of course, the center. I was always the center. Anyhow, I got the rebound and no one was around me. I grabbed the ball, turned, and dribbled beautifully all the way down the court. There wasn't a person close to me. I got all of the way down the court. People were cheering and screaming at me. What I didn't realize was they were screaming, "NOOOO! Stop! Turn around!"
I got to the basket, the WRONG basket, did a perfect lay-up and scored on my own team.
I do not remember if we lost or won that game. I do remember our team doing pretty well that year. Which had nothing to do with me, because I was on the bench most of the time, which was where I was the happiest. But that was what I remember most about my athletic career.
I played softball too. Always struck out and always left field (or which ever one is where they stick the kids that suck.) But again, I had no belief in myself that I could do it right, so I really only tried to get those moments over with. And I remember hating the gnats, and the heat.
So when I give speeches to my kids about trying hard, being a part of the team, the importance of practice, do your best, and so on and so on, I usually get a response like this:
"What do YOU know about playing sports? You scored on your own TEAM!!"
My kids love that story. And they love to make fun of me because of it. That's cool.
When my kids are good at something, (or not), I push them a little harder. Because I never felt good at anything like that when I was young. My daughter played soccer three seasons longer than she wanted to, because I wanted her to. I couldn't understand why she wouldn't want to play something she was so good at. I finally had to let her quit.
Somewhere, growing up, I've become more competitive. I've been known to get pretty serious (I once stabbed a man with a pen) during a game of Taboo. I can be a very sore loser. Which might be another reason why I didn't try hard when I was younger. If I couldn't do it perfectly, I wasn't going to try.
Anyhow, that's my basketball story. I tried to find a picture of our team, but I can't get to the box that I think it's in. It was in the early 80's, so use your imagination, and have a great day!