When I was ten, our class would play various sports for physical education. One of which was football (soccer for the Americans) and that ball belonged to me. I wish I could say that meant I was a champion who dribbled it down the field and scored the final point of the game but that would be bull. No, I was without strategy. My only aim was to get in where the ball was and get it away from the opposing team, even if I had no idea what to do with it next. Yeah, I’ve never been good at team sports (the whole coordination and verbal communication thing) but I wanted to look like – and more so feel like – I was doing something.
There were many times I groaned over why I had to do sports at school. Apart from the obvious physical health part, I had no sporty ambitions. How was this meant to relate to me later in life? Well, I found the answer. Participating in sports makes me anxious and the cruddy thing is many awkward and uncomfortable situations in life will as well. Groan.
Trying is not easy. Sometimes I think a pluck of courage is just insanity. Running was something I could do in school and for fitness we had to run the length of the gym as many times as we could manage and then stop and take our heart rate. I was the second to last person to stop running and that was because my shoe was beginning to come off. Such excellent stamina! No, I was just crazy.
One of my more interesting P.E. lessons was boxing. Oh yeah, I signed up for that. It wasn’t even mandatory. To prep, there were extensive push-ups and jump roping. I remember the teacher looking at my scrawny self as though to say, ‘Why bother?’ but I put all my lightweight into it. I was persistent.
When it came to the actual boxing, everyone was in girl-girl/guy-guy pairs, except me and another guy in the class. We began, my “sporting mode” (hesitant, day dreaming sludge mode) sprang into action and I ended up winded. Sure, there is a good chance the same would have happened if I hadn’t done such a half-arsed job (okay, 100%) but at least I would have gone for it instead of giving up in my mind.
I still hate sports and trying certain new things freaks me out. I’m the writer who quit journalism classes twice because the idea of interviewing people face-to-face freaked me out. Also, it was restricting and bored me…but that’s just me making excuses.
In the realm of writing, the idea that you can just be holed up in the dark doesn’t quite ring fact. It can be awkward and intimidating to step out of your comfort zone but being persistent and taking a shot can be exhilarating, whether you are triumphant every time or not.