Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Used to Play Softball

That's right; you read that correctly.  I played softball.  For about two practices and part of a game.  I remember the game well.

We were late.  (We were always late.)  Dad told me to hurry to the dugout; it was my team at bat.  It would soon be my turn, and I was so nervous.  I hated playing sports because I knew I was inadequate.  Even as a child, I knew when my performance was lacking.  Lots of kids don't know the difference.  They paint a sloppy picture and hand it over to their parents proudly.  I, on the other hand, could point out the problems with it.  I am a member of a family of perfectionists, after all, and if there's one thing we're good at, it's knowing when we are less-than-great.  And so it was with softball.  I knew my dad had started me late.  Kids just don't start learning how to throw and hit a ball at age 9.  They start when they are toddlers.  They work up to a certain level of comfort with balls before they even enter kindergarten.  I did not.

I felt like I was thrown into the game without knowing what I was doing at all.  So when the coach called my name, I anxiously walked to home plate.  I swung once and missed, of course.  I swung again and missed again.  I felt my face blush, and tears were a mere blink away from sliding down my face.  I pretended like I was hot and had to take my sweater off.  (To this day, I cannot comprehend why I was wearing a sweater . . .)  I took my time.  I looked out through the tiny holes of that navy sweater and swallowed back tears.  I watched the world outside and swore to myself I wouldn't come back to another game.  Perhaps that's what gave me the courage to make it through that night.  All I know is that I don't remember anything after I took my sweater off and tied it around my waist.

I never did go back.  I quit playing sports completely.  Of course I had to participate in the general embarrassment that is Physical Education, but besides one gloriously happy game of soccer with my family one summer's eve, I made up my mind that team sports was not for me.

It's not something I like to admit.  I wish with my whole soul I had stuck it out that night at the softball fields.  I wish my dad had seen that I needed to learn how to play sports in order to gain confidence, especially in my formative years.  And who knew the world of Mormon Young Single Adults would revolve around ultimate frisbee, ward softball, and basketball?  If only someone had told me . . .

I am not as embarrassed about my lack of sportiness now.  It still bothers me, but I can confidently say that I am outdoorsy.  I like hiking, rafting, tubing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, and I am fairly adept at shooting an arrow.

I even like watching sports.  I just don't want to play them.

Thing I'm thankful for: an artistic side?


Blogger cardlady said...

Oh SARA! I am so sorry I missed all the signals! I am glad though, now, that you are attempting other outdoorsy things to help you be healthy and active. You may out do us all in that respect. Being outdoorsy and physically active all the time! Hooray for you! And your confidence will come to complete fruition, because you are working on EVERYTHING about you NOW! Love YOU MOMMA

3:52 PM  
Blogger dallin+michelle said...

oh girl! this post makes me laugh.... you paint such a visual picture :) and just for the record i didn't start playing softball until i was 10 so much for the toddler theory right??........ :) sports are so limiting anyway.... better to be "outdoorsy" the world was made for you!!!!! xoxo! .... sigh... i need to call you...... i miss you friend!

6:33 AM  

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