A Lament About That One Time I Was An Athlete*

*term used loosely

Note: At Killer Tribes I learned it is not only important to connect with people through laughter (which I feel like I focus on a lot around here) but also to help your readers know you better. So in an attempt to do a little more of that, I am foraying into a bit of storytelling that doesn't involve making fun of celebrities but does involve making fun of myself. Please enjoy this recounting of awkward times in my life and share yours with me so I'm not out here alone.

softball picture

Once upon a time I was average-ly athletic in a small town private school environment. LOLOL I know. But I was.

By the rest of the world's standards, I'm sure I wouldn't have made the cut, but for some reason they let me play softball for four years. And basketball in junior high. It could be because there was no tryout process, but I can't be certain.

To this day I'm not entirely sure why I played softball other than the fact that everyone I knew played at least one sport and I somehow felt obligated to do the same--to graduate from rec league onto the school team-- and over time I also somehow became invaluable as a sometimes-first baseman more-times-benchwarmer to my coach. But more on that later.

Anyway, softball is hard, you guys. No pun intended (even though it was totally a solid one). I think enough time has passed since my bat-swingin' days that I can properly air my grievances without anyone coming after me. So here they are.

1. Running outside in 35 degree weather.

You've been at school all day doing impossible chores like LISTENING and MATH, it's freezing outside and your throat and lungs are burning from the sharp, cold air as you heave and wheeze your way back and forth between foul poles. Most people probably didn't wheeze, I guess. But it was hard for me, okay? I was probably full from my nutritious after-school snack of cookies and Mountain Dew, you guys, so give me a break.

It was kind of like someone had taken it upon themselves to smooth out the inside of my esophagus with sandpaper.

And I did this voluntarily. Daily. For months. And like, no one even had a gun to my head or anything.

I sacrificed hours of free time (and warmth) to be gloriously average on a (perpetually losing) private school softball team in small town Alabama.

The things I do so that people won't be disappointed in me.

2. Double-headers.

Baseball fans, I ask you, what is the point of double-headers? Seriously. Give me one good reason. I genuinely want to know.

If you lose, you don't want to suffer through that over again, and if you win, don't you want to quit while you're ahead? Baseball/softball games are long enough as they are. Especially when they are away games and you have things like more math to do.

3. The fact that the combination of freezing rain and losing miserably is not enough to call a game.

Nope, the powers-that-be make you keep on playing your little hearts out until finally, just when you're praying for death to come take you, they find some mercy and call the game. And then it's 10pm and you're still two hours away from home and have to study AP History in the car while eating Burger King and guzzling Gatorade.

Why did I do this again?

I literally asked myself that AT THE TIME and still continued doing it. I even chose playing softball over community theater when they conflicted, which is really just a terrible decision all around considering my life path so far. I mean honestly.

The answer, by the way, is because I was unable to stand up to the crushing guilt and inner people-pleaser I harbored in my soul.

Even when I came to my senses my junior year and decided it wasn't worth it anymore, I was talked back into it by a coach who is one of those guys you didn't so much worry about making mad as much as you worried about disappointing them. You know those people? I hate those people.

My first year was terrible for many reasons, among them being I was the only 8th grader, I didn't know anyone, and one of the high schoolers took a pregnancy test during practice one day which made me wildly uncomfortable.

That nightmare was all it took to convince me not to play in 9th grade, but in some cruel twist of fate, my friends actually played and I watched from the bleachers. I reeled with regret. So of course when 10th grade rolled around I relented and joined up again. But it wouldn't be my life unless most of those friends realized hey, softball isn't that fun, and quit on me.

And that's how you found me declaring "NEVER AGAIN!" my junior year but totally ending up doing it again. Apparently the team "needed me." Which was total crap. That team needed me like the Internet needs a new Harlem Shake video (AM I RIGHT? Topical zing!).

By the time I reached my senior year it was like why not, you know? I was the oldest now, I had a fellow senior by my side...all in all it wasn't so bad.

Except, oh yeah, I got benched pretty hard. The pitcher took my spot at first base and I spent half the games eating trail mix and enforcing the no-singing-dumb-softball-cheers rule in the dugout. But I did get a hoodie with my name on the back... that I couldn't wear to school because hooded sweatshirts were not allowed even though crew necks (which are totally lame) were allowed. I guess they promoted gang violence or something but I mean really one look at any one of us would've dispelled any fears. (Private school problems.)

Thus concluded the meteoric rise and fall of my athletic career.

My only real accomplishment was getting the "Wildcat Award" aka the Christian award aka "you're nice to people and a total goodie goodie." But I WILL TAKE IT.

I mean, sure, I guess learned about teamwork and dedication and not giving up and whatever, but was it really worth all the running? I'm not so sure. It takes a lot for something to be worth running in my book.

Did you play sports in high school? Do you feel like it was an accurate representation of your interests/passions or something you just kind of did? Did you win any awards?

Did a mean girl trip you up at first base so that you skinned your legs up during prom season like me? Let's chat about it.