This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows anything about my bookworm, indoor-loving, introverted self, but I don’t love sports. To be fair, I don’t exactly hate them either. There’s been some talk around my workplace for the last month about the NBA draft, and I’ve realized that I’m stuck in some form of sports limbo; I know more about sports than my pasty complexion would lead people believe, but there is still very much that I don’t know, nor do I have a desire to know, when it comes to activities of the athletic variety.
My family has dipped our feet in athletics, but we’ve never been crazy sports fans. I have a brother who is a junior blackbelt in karate, and another brother who drabbles in track during the summers. My sister has taken a liking to tumbling and I’m the champion of Just Dance. We participate in the sports world every now and then, but watching professional sports and cheering on teams have never been a priority. In my twenty years, I’ve only watched one football game all the way through on television. Broadcasted sports hold a certain magic that puts me in a drowsy state, or sends me off to dreamland completely. The only exception to this is the Olympics, to which I have no problem making the couch my best friend for two weeks as I watch my country either dominate or fail miserably.
I suppose I have watched the Super Bowl a few times, but that’s honestly only been for the commercials. Half the time I couldn’t even tell you what teams are playing, and I choose my “favorite” team based off who I think has the best mascot or colors.
I tend to be more invested when it comes to attending sporting events, but even then I would rather be curled up at home crying over fictional characters in a book than hearing the roar of the crowd beneath the Friday night lights. Football games were an excuse to hang out with my friends and maybe glance at the scoreboard every now and then (well would you look at that, we’re only 40 points behind. The team is improving!). My high school’s football team was a little lacking in skill, to put it nicely, and none of us knew what was happening anyway, so we just cheered and booed along with the crowd (and not necessarily the crowd for our hometeam).
There are a few sports that I actually do know something about, like basketball and soccer, so it’s a lot easier for me to get invested in the game. It’s exciting whenever they score a goal in basketball or slam-dunk that soccer ball through the net.
In terms of me, myself, and I actually playing sports, things start to get scary. I have absolutely no coordination at all. Or motivation. Or locomotion. What I do have is hesitation, a skill that’s gotten me hit in the face or the stomach by a ball, bat, or frisbee more times than I can remember. There’s bound to be some memory-loss with how much damage my poor head has taken.
I played soccer in my elementary years, and although I wasn’t bad, per se, I wasn’t nearly aggressive enough to steal the ball away from enemy players. I was more likely to run away from the ball than towards it. Picking dandelions and doing handstands when everyone was at the opposite end of the field was a lot more exciting for 8-year-old me.
I also took dance from the time I was three up until I was 12 (and yes, I’m counting dance as a sport), but there were only so many “shuffle ball change shuffle steps” and stalls that I could take before I decided I wanted to move on to other things.
Despite never seriously taking a sport, I did my fair share of time in the prison called high school physical education. P.E. was always my least-favorite part of the day. It made me sweat. It made me cry. It made me bleed. In fact, the only thing it didn’t do was make me love sports. There was much that this lovely, required class taught me: I was introduced to the torture that is planks, I discovered the sport that will forever be my greatest nemesis (I’m looking at you, volleyball), and I found that the sports I actually did hold some skill in were the sports that people either had never heard of or didn’t care about at all.
Badminton and bocce ball, specifically, were sports that I was actually decent at. During my junior year, my friend and I were forced into a bocce ball tournament, and out of the twenty teams in our class, we ended up coming in second. An entire class of forty (a good 60% of them school athletes), and despite our efforts to actually lose so that we could go sit in the shade and talk while the other teams finished up, the two girls who had convinced the teacher to let them sit on the sidelines and “keep score” during the volleyball unit somehow almost came on top. If someone would like to tell me what happened there, please let me know because I’m still scratching my head to this day.
My already scarce interest and participation in sports has been watered down significantly since I started attending college. I went to a football game once my freshman year, dragging the same bocce ball friend behind me, and I couldn’t even tell you if we won the game or not. We weren’t even in the student section; we were on the less-crowded bleachers—the ones for the opposing team, come to think of it—discussing our ideas for the next greatest novel.
There are most likely some people out there who would be offended by my indifference towards sports. For some people, sports are life and gatorade is the blood that runs through their veins, and that’s okay. But for this girl, the feel of the keys beneath my fingers and the words churning through my mind win the trophy every time.