Sunday, July 4, 2010

You drove to Iowa for WHAT?!

I'm going to share a little something about myself with you.

I suck at sports.

And I when I say I suck at sports, I mean that I REALLY, REALLY suck at sports.

And not just one or two of them...ALL of them.  If it requires coordination or any sort of athletic ability of any kind, I can virtually guarantee you that I will find a way to screw it up so badly that it will boggle your mind.

Honestly, it really shouldn't even be humanly possible to suck this much.

When I was a growing up going to gym class was like having my worst nightmares come to life. I absolutely dreaded walking into that gigantic empty room with it's stale sweat smell and slippery floors.  It was my own private hell.  I viewed athletic equipment as torture devices, and my classmates were just sadistic bastards who couldn't wait to get their hands on these instruments of evil and have their way with me.

My parents tried really hard to help me out.  They were very encouraging, and had me try all sorts of different activities. Gymnastics, soccer, cheer-leading, dancing, basketball...all with equally horrendous results.  The only thing I was ever marginally decent at was swimming.  I was on the swim team for several years.  I even got a first place ribbon in my first ever race! (sadly, that was the only one I ever got...and it was a relay)

I tried for a while. I really did. I wanted to be good...it's just that my body would never cooperate with me.  I'd listen to the instructions and watch the other kids and think "Well that looks easy enough!  You just run down the mat, jump on the trampoline and land on the pommel horse on your knees?...I'm SURE that I can do that!"...and then my turn would come. I ran down the mat, jumped on the trampoline...and did a somersault over the pommel horse kicking my poor gym teacher in the head in the process.  True story.  I think that we had to call the janitor to come clean the floors after because all of my classmates had peed their pants from laughing so hard.

Now, I may not have any athletic prowess of any kind at all...but I am a reasonably intelligent person.  If someone says to you "Hey, I want you to try this really cool new thing that I discovered! It's all the rage. Everyone is doing it!" and you go join them, and it turns out that this really cool new thing is sticking bamboo shoots under your fingernails...you're probably not going to do it a second time, right? Yeah...me neither.

So...having lived with this issue my entire life, I have recently been faced with asking myself "Self, what exactly would possess you to drive 3 hours to Iowa and 3 hours home in one day for the sole purpose of going bowling?!"

Imagine my surprise when myself answered "Well, because it's FUN ya dummy!"

See, the thing that I never figured out when I was a kid was that it really isn't about the results.  It's about spending time with people and being carefree and silly.  (Ok, not for everyone...some people take that stuff way too seriously, but in general people are just out to have a good time)

When my friend Manda first mentioned her bowling party to me, my initial reaction was "No friggin' way!I haven't picked up a bowling ball since I was 8 years old and there is very little chance that I've suddenly become coordinated."  But I really love Manda, and I miss her and I wanted to see her.  So when another friend told me that she was considering going I decided to throw caution to the wind and be a rebel for a change.

So I did it. I got in the car and drove all the way to Iowa to spend a couple of hours bowling.  I was excited to see some old friends and to make some new ones and if it meant I had to throw a big heavy ball down a lane and try to knock over some pins...well, so be it.

As expected...I sucked.  I sucked BAD!  I swear, you wouldn't even believe that it's truly possible to suck as bad as I do.  You know how in slapstick comedies some idiot accidentally throws the ball in the wrong direction?  Yeah...that would be me. (twice)

BUT the difference between now and when I was a kid is that now I really don't care.  It was funny and I just laughed and tried again.  The difference between now and then is that I know that it doesn't really matter.  I know that people are still going to like me and think that I'm fun even if I can't knock down a bunch of pins, or make a ball go through a net, or manage to stay upright while rolling around a slippery floor with wheels attached to my feet.

This knowledge is a beautiful thing...and I have you to thank for it.  You all have shown me love and friendship and helped me to see that I'm actually pretty cool just the way that I am.  Thank you!


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