Monday, June 29, 2009

Introducing... The Athletic Wimp.

I've never been much of an athlete.

As a youngen, my parents signed me up for t-ball. My first time at bat, I hit the ball... and ran to the pitcher's mound. Then to 2nd base. Then to 1st, across to 3rd... and then home.

A couple games later, I really had to pee... but the restrooms were locked. While playing right field, I couldn't hold it any longer and soaked my pants. After the last out, I ran to the dugout and desperately said "Coach! A sprinkler turned on, and got my pants all wet!" He looked me over and said, "Whatever. You peed your pants!" I sat out the rest of the game in the dugout, wishing I wasn't such a wimp. I only played one season.

In flag football, I got the ball for the first time... and ran to the wrong endzone. I wished I wasn't such a wimp, and only played one season.

In middle school gym class, I was usually the last one picked for dodgeball teams. I was tall, lanky, and not exactly aggressive. I was always terrified of getting hit in the face. So, of course, it happened. I woke up flat on my back, with my glasses nowhere in sight. The gym teacher whisked me off to safety, while looking bewildered at how someone could be such a wimp.

In high school, I played the tuba in band. The closest I got to a sporting event was playing the school fight song in the bleachers. I'd watch the guys playing football and/or basketball, the girls oogling over them, and wished so badly I could be them... instead of a wimp.

After graduating, I joined the Marines. I was 6'4" tall, and weighed 143 pounds. Underweight, as it turned out. I was put on "double rations" to bulk up, which meant I had to eat twice as much as everyone else. Of course, this put me in great graces with the fat kids who had to eat cottage cheese... for every meal. One night, while standing in our underwear for hygiene check, the Drill Instructor looked me over. He paused a moment with a confused look on his face, and belted "What the hell, Recruit? What did you think this was... the Peace Corps?!?" I was probably one the few wimps to successfully become a United States Marine, and I was proud.

Recently, Mavis signed us up at a health club. She wanted me to play racquetball with her, clueless to the fact that I would in no way challenge her. Mavis is very athletic, and plays a lot of tennis and basketball. I reluctantly agreed... being a little weary of her finding out what a wimp I am. At first, she went very easy on me (without me knowing) so I wouldn't get overly frustrated. Eventually, I even "won" a couple matches. Over time, I found myself improving to the point that she was actually getting a workout. I really started feeling confident when I could finally return her "signature" serve, that she masterfully hits into the corner right where I can't get it:

Last week, a miracle happened. We hit the court after not having played for awhile, because Mavis was in Arizona visiting her Dad.

Match 1: Mavis won, as usual.
Match 2: I won, by a surprising margin.
Match 3: I narrowly won.
Match 4: Otis G takes it again.
Match 5: Somehow... I won.

I squarely beat her 4 out of 5 matches. I never thought it would be possible, and for the first time I kinda felt like...

An athlete.

I needed my own signature move, and quick. This is all I could come up with.

I still think she's probably holding back a bit. But as long as I win once in awhile, I don't mind.

In the "serve" video, you'll notice how I politely ask her to "not hit me". Some things never change. :)

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