The Athlete In Me
A while back, I had a discussion with some friends about Rich People. And yes, you need to capitalize Rich People because they are Special.
Anyway, we were discussing the difference between Rich People and not-rich-people. Not the difference between Rich and poor – that’s obvious. But in these times when the average person has cell phones and nice cars and eats out when he wants and has loads of “stuff” – our lives in a lot of ways are not that much different. So what then singles out Rich People?
Of course, there’s the fact that their shoes are really really expensive. And their expectations to be waited on are really really high.
But when it came right down to it, I thought there were only two things I truly envied about Rich People. (Now that I want a house on the beach, let’s make that three things.)
But back then, those two things were:
Good Art - I’d love beautiful inspiring paintings on my wall to look at every day -
The time to get really good at a sport.
Being a good athlete takes a lot of practice. I always wanted to be good at a sport – any sport – and never had the time necessary to develop the skills.
And you need LOTS of practice if you haven’t got any natural ability.
The first athletic endeavor I remember is “Red Rover.” I was very puny and I could never break through the locked arms of the other kids. And so I was easy pickings and always called on: “Red Rover, Red Rover, we want Nancy to come over!” And I’d try and try and fail and fail. So one day after being played like a yo-yo (which I couldn’t do either, by the way) – I furiously revved myself up and ran like I had never run before. And just when I got to the kids, they laughed and let go. And I ran right through them and into the brick wall of Lavoie’s Market. I had a real gusher of a bloody nose and never played Red Rover again.
Then I tried baseball. I played baseball with my boy cousins in New Britain. Again, I gave it my best effort but I didn’t know anything about baseball. But they tossed me an easy one and I hit it. I really did! And they said “Run! Run! Run to first base!” And I did. And then they said, “Ha, Ha! You’re out! You ran on a foul ball, you dummy!” End of my baseball career.
I took a gymnastics class at the Girls’ Club. After six months of effort and numerous minor injuries, I could turn a crooked cartwheel. Almost.
I did not take any sports in high school. I had gym class of course. I liked square dancing. I went Allemande Left when everyone else was Allemande Right.
It was all Woodstock Hippie Love and Peace in college. Thank god that did not entail any physical commitment beyond sitting on the floor with a joint.
After college, my goal was to find a good job. And so I worked at a mediocre job and went to school every night. No time for much more than the walk from the office to the parking lot and from the classroom to the other parking lot. And it worked. I got a very good job.
And so next on my list was a boyfriend.
I joined a “fun” sports club. Skiing, Tennis, Volleyball. Just young adults (cute men and pretty women) getting together to have fun. I couldn’t ski, so I signed up for volleyball. Just for fun, right? Wrong. These guys had to WIN. These guys I wanted so badly to meet would not let me on their team. And why? Well, because I was terrible. I don’t think that’s very sportsmanlike, do you?
So I took tennis lessons. We were volleying back and forth one Saturday morning. Three people on each side of the court. Warming up. I was only watching the ball from the person that I was paired with. Keep your eye on the ball, I was told. But another dude hit another ball as hard as possible. Directly into my throat.
Well, how about Golf? I played in the company golf tournament. One hundred foursomes. I came in last. So I took lessons. My instructor said that he couldn’t promise to make me a great golfer, but he promised that I wouldn’t come in last anymore. At lesson number eight, he said, “Well, you might still come in last.”
Zumba is great. I love dancing to that sexy music. I’m pretty good at it too. My hips almost sway. Not quite, but close.
And I practice Yoga. I’ve been at it for twelve years now. And sometimes I can stand on one foot. For ten seconds.
But I found it! Finally!
The athletic pursuit I’m great at!
Who knew that all I had to do was find the right kind of Yoga!
I went to a Restorative Yoga class.
It’s basically different kinds of lying down.
I excel at lying down!