I was the shrimpy kid in gym class, the one who struggled to do a mile in less than 13 minutes, the one who could barely bench 20 pounds, and who failed at every sport. The team that got me was always an unfortunate one. For one thing, I never understood volleyball, and was secretly a little afraid of getting hit in the head. At soccer, I was useless, at dodgeball and kickball, embarrassing. Basketball- I would be that idiot who would try and score in the wrong hoop, okay. So sports was never my thing, and neither was personal fitness. The only sport I ever enjoyed was tennis, but even that was a failure. I was on the JV team freshman and sophomore year, but when I wasn’t loosing, it seemed, I was getting sick and missing weeks of matches and practices. And no, it actually wasn’t on purpose. I wanted to be good, to make mommy and daddy proud because they paid for me to take lessons, but it just didn’t happen.
Now, I try to at least be, if not in shape, not unreasonably out of shape. Sometimes I jog, or lift a couple dumbbells, or use the little bike machine in the gym. Sure, it’s pathetic, but it’s not a life of misery. You tell yourself that it’s okay that you’re weak and flabby. Not everyone is born with the gift of motor coordination and endurance. You were created by God to sit in an office for a good part of your life. You’re a writer, so what you can’t run without getting headaches and lung pain and side aches? It’s not for everyone, you have a different purpose in life.
Yesterday, my dad took me to the golf course for the first time. I’d never played golf before in my life. I thought it was worth a shot, but I didn’t expect much. I even joked with my dad that I was going to hit the ball like two feet. Not even two yards, okay. And in the beginning, that’s exactly what happened, and I laughed it off because that is how I have learned to respond to my own physical shortcomings over the years. It is more socially acceptable than crying. But I tried to listen to the instructor, see what I was doing wrong. And then something magical happened. One minute, I had been swinging the wedge around like a fool. And the next, well, I was still swinging that wedge around like a fool, but I’d hit the ball, and it went up in the air! And after that, sometimes I would make a bad shot, but sometimes, I would repeat the success! Eventually, the instructor left me to do my thing. I could hear him and my dad saying that I was doing well for a beginner. And I had a feeling that they weren’t just patronizing me to make me feel better. I mean, maybe they were patronizing me, but maybe there was an inkling of truth to that patronization as well. You have to understand, that’s not something I’ve ever experienced before, hearing an inkling of truth in patronization.
So maybe I’m speaking too soon, jumping to conclusions. It could have just been beginner’s luck, God feeling sorry for me, a number of things, really. But at least I got to feel it for once in my life, and that’s something special. I got to get lost in something and forget everything but what I was supposed to remember.
Well, now I suppose I understand why God didn’t make me an athlete. I can imagine that it’s easy to get whisked away in a cloud of adrenaline and endorphins into worldliness and pride, forgetting the Creator and identity. That is something to be on guard against. Maybe God made me a writer because it’s easier to be humble. How can you puff yourself up when the world is scoffing at you and when there’s no one to see your work, and the odds are against anyone seeing your work? Well, that’s enough of that comparison.