I need to confess something to you. It's been weighing on me but I've stuffed it because I don't want you to think less of me - we all know you've put me on a pedestal. But the pressure is too much. I need to offload the guilt and move on with my life. So - ready? Here goes . . . .
I'm not an athlete.
I know - I KNOW! I'm sorry! Really, really sorry. I've led you on for a long time but this is the new me - the truthful me and truthfully, I've always wanted to be an athlete but it was never in the cards.
Basically - in a nutshell - I'm a wimp. I'm afraid of the ball, afraid of getting hurt and - this is the worst - I don't care if I lose. It's a rather deadly combination.
Don't get me wrong - I love sports. Football, basketball, track - I love watching it on TV and talking about teams and players but I've never played anything. Well, let me back up a little bit. I played basketball in high school.
Go get a cup of coffee - it's story time.
I started getting tall when I was a sophomore in high school. Everybody (and when I say "everybody" I mean all the cool, popular girls who were starters on our little 2-A high school team) told me I should go out for the team. Because I was tall. Too bad that isn't the only skill you need to play ball - being tall.
I went out for the team and by the end of the first practice, it was obvious to everyone that I was a complete dork. No coordination, no ball-handling skills, no natural ability and the WORST was suicides. Remember those? At least that's what we called them. We'd sprint from baseline-1/4 court-baseline-1/2 court-baseline-3/4 court- full court and back. I think they're called sprints now. How PC. "Sprints" sound like something light and airy and quick - not something that will make you throw up. Anything that makes you puke in practice should have a more ominous name than "sprints". But I digress. Let's get back to the humiliation.
So, I'm on the team. Well, I'm on the JV team. OK, I'm a benchwarmer on the JV team. Fortunately I didn't share this humiliation alone. There were 4 of us. We all sat at the end of the bench and tried not to hurl, thinking about playing. See, if it was a close game, the coach wouldn't dream of jeopardizing a win with us in there. We only went in if it was a blowout. We would sit at the end of the bench and - I'm not kidding you - pray fervently for the game to be close. Although, I'm sure the people watching a 2-A, JV girl's basketball game anticipated the entertainment we benchwarmers provided. It was worth the price of the ticket, people.
My dad can tell you stories about Karenpie running down the court in the opposite direction of the action and Coach Stoecker, arms waving, red-faced and yelling, "Karen! Other way! OTHER WAY!" Or me, getting ready for a jump ball, putting my foot at the line (which indicates to the ref I'm ready to jump), then looking to see where my teammates are and while I'm looking around (trying not to throw up, remember) the ball goes up, everyone moves, play starts and I'm still standing there, haven't even jumped yet.
Another time, in practice, we were scrimmaging and Coach had someone shooting free throws. We were in a one & one (if the player makes the first shot, they get a second free throw. If they don't make it, whoever rebounds gets the ball). She made the first free throw, I rebounded and took it out. Everyone was like, "No! She made it!" So I gave the ball back. We started over. Same thing happened. Finally the coach stopped everything and said, "Karen, do you know what a one and one is?" I had to say no and all the Seniors rolled their eyes. You know what was funny? I was making rebounds for the first time and thinking I rocked. I wasn't paying attention to the fact that I didn't have any competition for the rebound.
For the last thirty years, whenever anyone in my family can get in a comment about Karenpie's basketball ability, they go with it. But what can I say? It was a highly entertaining era in their lives.
So, it was humiliating but I refused to quit. I ended the season with maybe 7 minutes of total playing time, no points, no stats except turnovers and a HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF. Turning in my uniform was the sweetest day of my basketball career.
"So why," you ask, "are you bringing this up, Karenpie? We were perfectly happy thinking of you as a possible Olympian." Well, the reason is that basketball is once again part of my life.
Matthew is playing and Duane is coaching the team. Our second practice, Duane and the other coach were both going to be late so I offered to get the boys warmed up and stretched until the coaches got there. And you know what? It was fun. I showed them all kinds of stretches that I've learned in Pilates/ballet. Unfortunately for the boys, they couldn't even touch their toes so I worked them.
Afterwards, I shared with Duane how fun it was and asked if I could do it again sometime. And here's what my sweet, naturally athletic, varsity-basketball-playing husband told me - "Yes. You're our new strength and conditioning coach."
Let's just let that soak in for a couple of seconds, shall we? Coach.
So, for all the times I heard about my lack of basketball skills and my dorkiness I have something to tell you;
That's COACH Dork, wise guys. No more of the snarky comments. Now drop and give me fifty. Of something. Then go do 138 suicides.
Who's the one with the whistle now? Huh? Who?
Karenpie - top left corner. The spot reserved for dorks, benchwarmers and future coaches.