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Picking At An Emotional Scab, or More On Team Sports

To clear a couple things up from yesterday, I'd like to make known that my parents never forced me into sports.  No, they were the kind of hippies that promised to support me no matter what!  I always privately wondered if that would include a career in say, serial killing or bank robbery, but never put it to the test.

I know my Dad was a tad disappointed that I didn't show a lot of aptitude, ability or interest at sports, but he always made himself available to play catch or offer to shoot hoops with me.  (But I always declined the second offer, as it would have meant driving into town where I would be seen in public sucking at sports.)

No, the 'forced into basketball' bit was all at the hands of the psychopaths running my high school's phys. ed. department.  Upon seeing me, standing a good foot above the crowd of bug-eyed midgets they usually had to assemble a basketball team from, visions of trophies appeared, and they would not accept that I didn't have any ability for the game.  They couldn't accept that I couldn't dribble, no, it had to be that I wasn't trying hard enough, or I just didn't want it enough, and that I could really do it if I showed some heart! 

Look, when you're an unpopular, poor, geeky, gawky, uncoordinated, teenager with no social standing there is no number high enough to express the desire I had to exceed at a sport and finally be popular!  And accepted!  But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get any better.  I bought weights, and worked out every night.  I spent days riding my bike and running.  And still I was the slowest, and couldn't bounce a ball, or make a shot.  And the only advice I got was "Try Harder."

Fuck that.

I also voluntarily tried out for the … wrestling team.  But one practice was enough to convince me that rolling around on a soft surface while in the embrace of another guy in his underwear was entirely too gay, and I declined to persue it further.

And I'll have to admit that I got some enjoyment out of playing many losing seasons of baseball.  While I can't run quickly, I could reliably hit, and hence I always felt a certain kinship with John Olerud.  Unfortunately, a couple of snags popped up.  Like dribbling, my brain is just not wired to throw overhand.  I've tried.  Can't do it.  So when I chuck something, it's in kind of a 2 o'clock half-sidearm, and I can throw very hard like that, but occasionally in the excitement of the moment, it gets out of control and the ball can end up anywhere.  The constant harassment of my coaches to make me run faster (which consisted of "run faster!" and "Hustle!" and "You can run faster than that!" (on the last one, I would actually stop and argue with them)) and correct my throwing finally sapped any enjoyment I had for the sport.

In summary, I'd like to slay the shibboleth that "you learn valuable lessons from team sports".  That's a bullshit bill of goods sold to us by meathead phys. ed. grads who lack useful skills and are desperate to hang on to their phoney baloney jobs, and the poor saps that they've brainwashed.

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  1. pdb : Pow, Right In The High School | October 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    […] hostage, I was about ready to pack it in and go home. All the uncomfortably familiar pain and misery of my childhood sports career came back after being tamped down for years. (I’m not sure […]