Thursday, May 25, 2006

The athlete in me...

Me, age 9

If I were to write out a list of skills I possess, I could include very little of the athletic variety. Sports require too much exertion and they produce far too much sweat for a girl like me to enjoy them. I am often accused of running like a girl, throwing like a girl, kicking like a girl and even screaming like a girl, but none of this bothers me because I am, well, a girl.

A number of years ago, my family took a Kung Fu class. I participated mostly for the exercise and I can assure you that you have no need to be afraid of my martial arts abilities. My hands are NOT lethal weapons!

At the beginning of each class, we stretched (and stretched and stretched) and we were always forced to do the splits. My husband, limber guy that he is, eventually made it all the way to the floor after a ton of practice. He even practiced at home where he often encouraged me to join him and "push past the pain". Well, let me tell you that philosophies like this hold no significance or encouragement for me and after a year of Kung Fu my splits still looked more like an upside-down "V" than a straight line, and I generally remained at least 18 inches off the floor.

Another area of failure for me in Kung Fu class was sparring. This is when you are paired with a classmate and you utilize the skills learned in the class to fight each other. That's right, fight! Generally these sparring episodes consisted my friend, Cynthia, and me giggling and prancing about while throwing girly-punches and kicks at each other. Maybe we should have informed the instructor that we, being girly-girls, did not know how to fight. I mean, when is the right time to use a sun fist or a roundhouse? And is it acceptable to bite or scratch--you know, fight like a girl--because if it was, I think that Cynthia and I could have engaged in some legitimate sparring!

My one area of athletic prowess is hitting a baseball. I have no idea how this gift developed because I have never practiced, but for some reason if you hand me a bat and throw a ball my way I can hit it pretty far. I guess I must look pretty unassuming with a bat in my hand because whenever I step up to the plate, everyone (the guys, anyway) all take a large number of steps infield, thereby making it possible for me to hit the ball over their heads. Let me just tell you that this feels great!

On the other hand, you may want to think carefully before picking me for your baseball team because although I can hit the ball, I can not catch it. To begin with, I am afraid of balls hurling towards me at high speeds and if you add to that my lack of depth perception, what you are left with is a failure in the field.

So, my list of athletic skills consists of:

White belt in Kung Fu
Hits a baseball

Now, if I could add "runs like a girl, throws like a girl or catches like a girl", my list would be much longer. Someday when purse-making or book-reading become recognized in the sports world, I may actually receive some recognition, but until then the athlete in me is nowhere to be found!