If I were queen of some place, my subjects would not bow down to me, but rather fall down as I am a klutz of royal proportions. It would honor me if they did that. I have a friend, who would, when I would stumble over absolutely nothing, say “Nice move, Grace” and laugh at my pratfalls. In no way did I resemble Princess Grace of Monaco, so I knew that it was not based on appearance, but often disappearance, falling down, sighing and getting up.
My lack of balance, coordination , and natural skill for all things sports involved led me to never be a first draft choice for any games, school related or pick up. In school, being picked last was the norm and in a game like dodge ball (which I have recently found out children don’t play because of aggressive behavior), I was usually the target and sometimes I would think there were extra points for beaning me in the head. I was fairly oblivious to sports. I knew I wasn’t good at following the rules, in life, nevermind on a field or court. In junior high we played with a medicine ball which was enormous and more than once it rolled over me as getting out of its way quickly was a challenge. I could run, not distance, but in a fairly straight line and I thought that was pretty good. In sixth grade we played softball as part of our P.E. time and somehow, I could, once in a while, hit a ball. The bigger problem was that when I was up at bat, I was so intent on hitting, that I would make a hit, and run with the bat to first base. Invariably, the teacher, a.k.a. “coach” Mr. Jacobowitz (who changed his name to Mr. Jarred) would scream at me “DROP THE BAT!!! DROP THE BAT!!!” and would threaten to pull me out of the game if I did it again. I assured him that I heard him, got up at bat, and once again the bat and I ran to first base. Automatic out, game over, benched. Not sure what the educational part of building self esteem in young students was, but it seemed that after he had a heart attack (and changed his name), he no longer had that coaching responsibility. I did not feel at all guilty.
High school gym was a brief moment for me. I did not go out for any teams and no one was looking for me to join anything that involved physical activities. In fact, during my first class in gym, on my way to the locker room to change for class, I tripped over my shoelaces, and knocked myself unconscious. I remember waking up to people staring down at me, looking more incredulous, than worried. There were enough kids, who knew my past, who said “she does that a lot, she’s fine”. My mother was concerned about my apparent clumsiness and had my pediatrician write a letter excusing me from gym for four years. It was pretty sweet, I must say. Instead I worked in the office and learned how to use a switchboard. It was a long time ago. It was not too complicated and didn’t involve keeping score or wearing sneakers. I was good.
I know that taking risks and trying to be more physically active is good in the long run for many reasons. I’ve gone to gyms over time and fitness centers (more expensive gyms). I had a pretty ridiculous experience on a stationary bicycle when I got my shoe lace stuck in the pedal and could not get off without a problem. The staff person mentioned that he hadn’t seen that happen before. I also got thrown off a treadmill that accelerated from 3.5 mph to 7 mpg in a matter of seconds and I looked like a had done battle and lost. Despite these ever happening experiences, I continue to try. I worked with a personal trainer and she was terrific and I actually did something I never thought I could do. I didn’t get injured! I went on a Body Solid Weight Assisted Chin/Dip Machine (I looked it up as this is not a part of my vocabulary at any given moment). I was terrified. I imagined that I would somehow be propelled, through the ceiling of the fitness center and be launched into outer space. I was not actually clear on the concept until I focused, put my anxiety aside and figured it out. I actually liked it. At that point in my short career as a gym rat , I decided to retire victoriously, and take up walking again. Dangerous….at times, restorative, always. I realized that what we try and do won’t get us in the end, but not trying will never get us what we want.
So, enjoy that extra hour this weekend. Use it foolishly. That’s my plan.