20 May 2009

Come On, Be A Sport!

You ever have so much you can write about but you can't decide which topic to choose so you just sit staring at your computer hoping someone else will give you an excuse not to write at all? That's pretty much what I do every day. And it's also, obviously, why I don't post every day. So when you're sitting behind your computer wondering why I'm not enlightening your world at that very moment, chances are I'm thinking the exact same thing about you. I sure hope that keeps you awake tonight.

So as long as I'm here I might as well write something. I have a stash of already-written pieces that were written for one reason or another that I plan to post one day, but I feel like writing something from scratch. FOR YOU. Actually, for me since I don't care about you, but you benefit so you can pretend it's for you. You, the one who fails to entertain me every second of my life forcing me to provide entertainment for myself. Are you catching on yet?

So sports. It would appear that I'm not terribly physically talented when it comes to outdoor, or even indoor as it turns out, sports. Allow me to take you on a tour of my life vs. the sporting world.

Physical Education: Ah, P.E. I enjoyed elementary school P.E. to the extent that it wasn't classroom study and those days were the only days my mother allowed me to wear pants to school because I had just "so many adorable dresses and that's what you're wearing." (If you ever wonder why Peawhistle doesn't wear dresses except on Sunday, I guarantee some of that childhood trauma got passed along in there somehow.) Other than the no classroom/pants benefit, I saw little point in P.E. I sucked at everything. Gymnastics, running, basketball, obstacle courses, everything. The worst moments were the P.E. tests we were put through where the whole class got to watch you suck at it and fail miserably rather than just a small select group (of horrible, taunting children). Ah, Chin-up Bar. My old nemesis. I will never forgive you for the hours of torture you put me through. Dangling there, helpless, occasionally flinging my legs in an unorderly fashion in a vain attempt to propel my body in an upward direction, all while the gym instructor privately rolled his eyes and shouted mildly encouraging statements like, "Pull up! Use your arms, Abby, your ARMS." Very helpful advice. No, really.

The P.E. abuse continued on through high school. And then there was college. In the years prior to my arriving, BYU had only one class everyone had to take to graduate. I can't even remember what it was called, but half of the class was a health class and the other half was a running/jogging/torture class where, rumor had it, you had to run/jog/torture yourself for 20 miles. SCREW THAT. Fortunately for the university and my temper, the requirements had just changed by the time I got there and instead of the Health Class From Hell, you could instead take three sporting classes to fulfil the requirement instead. I chose the three sports I thought I could handle the most without therapy, crying, and heavy medication: tennis, golf, and bowling.

Tennis. My, my, do we go back some! I took tennis back when all my friends were taking it in grade school during the summer. It wasn't too bad because I didn't stick out so much then, mostly because everyone sucked at it. We were just kids starting out and every one of us was proud just to occasionally hit the ball when it came to our side of the court. I only assumed my talent for this sport would have somehow improved magically over the span of a decade and so I chose it as my first class. I don't really know how to describe how ineffective my performance in this endeavor was, but suffice it to say the whole of the experience was nothing less than a perpetual comedy of errors. I don't even know how it's possible, but I wound up being worse at tennis in college than I ever was as a child. At least back then I won a round or two, even if only by default; but college? No. People were kind to me, but you could see just how much they loathed the experience of being paired with me.

Serving was always the worst. Once in a while the ball actually left my side of the court, only to wind up on the street by the pizza parlor. But usually the ball landed right back on my head resulting in many a concussion-like state during play. When the ball came to me from my opponent it either went right past me or back out on the street like I was some MLB superstar going for a homerun record. But I really knew I was never meant to excel in this sport when the instructor himself finally took me aside and tried to give me personal lessons. Away from everyone else, mind you. Usually he had a baffled look on his face, wondering how I could possibly be this retarded. Every ball, served softly and slowly, directly at me, went right past. Sometimes I even swung at it to show I was trying, but usually it was just pointless to waste the energy, hence his frustration.* I have a couple of friends who play tennis, and very well mind you, who are probably wondering how all this is even possible. I don't know what to tell you. I don't know myself. I tried, honestly. Don't fret though, it gets worse.

Golf. I enjoy a round of putt-putt so how could I possibly not love golf? Yeah, it was somewhat entertaining, but man did I suck at it. I wasn't too bad at putting, and I even got singled out as a good example once or twice early on in the course. I tell you, those were some of my proudest moments on earth. Aaaaaand then it went downhill from there. Turns out I can't aim when driving the ball, and that's only when I actually managed to hit it (are you detecting a pattern of defectiveness yet?). I don't think I was the worst in the class for once, but I think I was close. In order to pass the class we had to go out to an actual course and play a round. A friend who came from a golfing family felt pity on me and offered to play my required game with me. The day we chose was a gorgeous day: overcast, rainy, with gusting winds. Perfect! If only we'd been struck by lightning too, we could have called it a day! My friend soon realized just how bad I was at this sport and gave me at least three mulligans per hole, even eventually going so far as to stand with her feet around each of the holes so I had no choice but to hit it in. Even after all of this vastly dishonest help, I still wound up with a score of 88. 88 you say? Why, that's excellent! Yes, but not for only nine holes it isn't! Let's move on.

Bowling. *sigh* I don't know where to begin with this. I started at an Obama-level expertise, ending only slightly higher by the end of the class. I had the highest handicap in the class with a whopping 98 (as in, 98 points had to be added on to my score after every game just to make me slightly competetive with the rest of the players). That came in kinda handy come the tournament when I magically began playing better, but it still didn't dull the sting of the fact that I needed such extreme artificial assistance to begin with. There's really nothing more to be said about bowling. Let's just leave it in the past and try to get past it all, shall we?

Peawhistle is in sports now. Or rather, I drive her to gymnastics, she runs around for 45 minutes, and we drive home. Where I take her for gymnastics is actually a pretty hardcore gym that prides itself on creating national-level competetive gymnasts. And then there's Peawhistle who wanders around, doing very little that could actually be defined as gymnastics and showing even less latent talent for it, with me clapping and calling, "Just have fun, honey!" They hate me there.

And thus the genes get passed along. YOU'RE WELCOME SPORTING WORLD.

*If it helps your opinion of me, Bonny and Gwennifer, it turns out I have an awesome backhand. The instructor positioned the racket in my hand, went and served a ball to me, and I hit it right back to him. He was so shocked he didn't even swing at it. He just stood there with his mouth open. He hit another one to me, and I hit it back again, and we actually had an entire match with me using only my backhand. Unfortunately, that wouldn't have sailed in the real world so I didn't pursue it further, but needless to say he was proud of me, even if only for one afternoon.


Heidi said...

How is it that you didn't have to take the health class from hell and I DID??? So not fair.

Ah, Abby, I wish you had taken ballroom dance with me as part of that PE stuff. Then I would have had some competition for being worst in the class.

greta said...

i ALWAYS dreaded P.E. from grade one until graduation. i was fat when i was little so i sucked at everything, then i was thin in high school but just lazy. the only thing i was semi-good at was clogging. yep, that horrible country tap dancing. i was good, but not pretty enough to be in a dress. they made me the "boy" because there weren't any boys. yeah, that sucked.
i had asked PW if she was in gymnastics and she said no. when i asked her again, she just stared at me with this annoyed look and said slowly "noooooo." maybe she thinks i'm slow.

Abby said...

Huh. I guess they changed the requirement while I was at BYU, but before I had to complete the requirement. Would that account for it? I could have sworn it was before I got there, but I guess not.

I'd forgotten you had to take that. You shouldn't have taken it so early on in your academic career and held out as long as possible like me.

Yeah, I probably woulda sucked at ballroom dancing, too. I don't need any additional attention to my lack of talent.

Greta, that's very funny. PW thinks I'm an idiot, too, so don't feel bad. But most likely what happened is she took you very literally.
"PW, are you in gymnastics right now?"
"No, I'm in your house right now. Duh."
I can see her little Amelia Bedelia mind working like that. No wonder she thinks I'm retarded.

Stephanie B said...

I guess you're not a total renaissance woman. Flex-arm hang was my nemisis in elementary. I thing I hung there for about 1.2 seconds.

I did Golf in High School. My best score was 83... on 9 holes. I think we should play together sometime. We'd be pretty evenly matched.

Greta, funny story, I can picture PW doing that.

Jenny said...

I took that bowling class too! Good times! I also took Self Defense. I think you would have done well with that. During one "exam" our instructor approached us and we were supposed to do one of our self defense moves on him. My friend just screamed as loud as she could and ran away. She got an A.

Bonny said...

Congratulations on a good backhand! After 17 years of playing, including 4 years of varsity tennis in high school, my backhand still leaves something to be desired. I can't believe BYU's P.E. requirement was so intense. Know how many P.E. classes I had to take at UMD? Zero. I really don't like bowling either, have never tried golf and don't even know what a mulligan is, and volleyball in gym used to make me want to die. Somehow I used to come out of there with flaming red arms and a bruised self-esteem. My favorite unit in middle school gym was ping-pong, by far.

Abby said...

This self defense class...would I have been able to get away with screaming and running away through the entire course?

And Bonny, every single sport you just listed there I suck at. Just so you know.