Sunday, February 7, 2010

a day of triumph . . . and failure . . .

so today . . . i watched the super bowl--like most of america. we watched it at our church on the huge projector screen. there was a chili cook-off in which i participated . . . no, i did not enter a pot of chili--they said no cans. but i did taste each entry and voted for my favorite. it is kind of amazing to me what people can to do chili . . .

since i'm not familiar with either team that was playing today, i randomly picked the saints as my team. i needed to root for somebody! i am kind of a peyton manning fan, but i just thought the team from new orleans should win, after the hurricane and all . . . so i sat in my lawn chair in the gym with my bowl of what turned out to be the winning chili, and watched my team go down by ten points in the first quarter.

the commentators then proceeded to announce to all of america that the most points a team was ever behind and still able to come back and win, was ten--way to kill the game for all the saints fans! sheesh! it was like they were saying it was all over in the first quarter. why even watch the rest of the game?!?!

but we did, because it was a church activity, and it probably wouldn't look too good if the pastor left before half time.

ah yes, and then there was half time . . .

we always try to do something during half time that gets people up out of their chairs and moving around a bit. this year it was a football throwing contest. the object was to throw three small nerf footballs from different distances into a round target about the size of a hoola hoop. actually, it probably was a hoola hoop.

i stayed in my chair. games of physical skill are not my forte. the only "c" i ever got on a report card (well until i dozed my way through western civilization when i was in college) was in sixth grade p.e. and i was horrified! i mean really, who gets a "c" in p.e.?!?! i thought all i had to do was dress down, show up, and try in order to get a decent grade. and i did that. the problem was, even when i tried i had no skills--except when we played hockey in the gym with those plastic sticks. i rocked at that! i don't know why, but i could smack that plastic puck clear across the room with that stick!

but that was the exception when it came to my sports prowess. when i was in elementary school, i pretended to be sick more than once in order to avoid a p.e. class, especially if i had heard that we were playing any sort of game where teams had to be picked--because i was always last to be chosen. or if we had to climb that crazy rope. and why on earth did we have to do that anyway?? is that a life-skill?? i don't think so. i've never once been asked to climb a rope since i stopped taking p.e. classes, which was when i was a sophomore in high school. the minute that p.e. became an elective instead of a requirement, i was done! give me a class that takes some intellectual ability--i have that. but please don't ask me to pole vault or catch a fly ball or serve a volleyball overhand. or throw a football.

which is why i stayed in my seat when the half-time competition began.

but then i heard the word "prize" thrown out there, and you know how i feel about rewards . . . so diandra and i got up and went over and stood in line.

i'm sure it was totally random, but we ended up in line right behind the one little boy and two little girls who wanted to play. awwww, how cute! i thought so too, until the little boy rifled that ball through the hoop. twice.

ok, well he is a boy--they have natural ball throwing abilities. the first little girl took her three tries and missed them all. i could feel her pain. but everyone clapped for her anyway, and she went off to play. the second girl was her little sister. she made one. you should have seen the look on her face. i would say it was sheer joy, but it wasn't. it was joy mixed with little sisterly evil. she took off at lightning speed to find her big sister and brag that she had made one in! now i could really feel the big sister's pain . . .

by some random aligning of the planets, diandra and i were next in line. she said, "i want to go first." ok, no problem. go right ahead . . . and then guess what happened? yep, she made one in.

now diandra does have some physical skills. clearly. she played lots of sports growing up, and never got a "c" in p.e. she even thought about becoming a p.e. teacher for a while. (it's a good thing she didn't though--i have issues with p.e. teachers.) so i wasn't totally surprised that she was able to throw one of those stupid little balls through that dumb hoop! but now it was my turn, and i thought, "please, let me get one in. just one. i don't need to win the whole competition (insert hysterical laughter here, because even with divine intervention that was not going to happen,) but if i could just get one in . . . "

they handed me the first ball. i didn't know which hand to throw it with--another of my issues. my dad is left-handed and i seem to be left handed for some sports. i bowl left handed. i shoot a gun left handed. but i "play" baseball right handed. usually when i pick up a piece of sports equipment--once every two or three years--i just know which hand to use. one hand feels right and the other one feels wrong. but as i stood there holding that little nerf football, neither hand felt right. so i went with the left hand and threw. the ball fell short and hit the floor. which wouldn't have been so bad, except i realized i was standing on one foot with the other leg extended out behind me and my left arm still hanging there in mid air. i looked like i was doing ballet, not throwing a football!

they handed me the second ball. i threw it quickly. i just wanted it out of my hands and for this whole miserable ordeal to be over. i can't even tell you where it landed, because i knew with certainty and without looking that it had not gone through the hoop. i was already looking at the third ball and wishing there was a way out that did not require me to throw that last ball. but there wasn't. there was a whole line of people behind me, watching and waiting for their turn.

i threw the ball. it did not go near the hoop.

suddenly i was in elementary school again--the one nobody wanted on their team.

it was not my favorite moment of the afternoon . . .

i pretended it was funny. i made a joke. everyone laughed along with me, and the competition continued.

i went back to my chair. i couldn't watch anymore. i totally missed diandra's next attempts, but i did finally glance over occasionally when i realized rollie was still in it. and as it turns out, he can throw a football. he came in second place and won a prize!

we watched the rest of the ball game. and the saints did accomplish the nearly impossible--they came back from ten points down to not just win the game, but to win it by a lot. it was like after half time, they calmed down, got the adrenaline under control, and played football. oh yeah, and that interception that they ran back for a touchdown helped too . . .

next year there will probably be another super bowl party at our church, and we will go. we will watch the game with our friends and eat good food and probably cheer for a team that i know nothing about. i will choose a team based on their location or who else likes them, or the color of their uniforms. i will eat cookies and chips that are bad for me and try again to choose the winning chili.

but next year, during half time, i will keep my body in my chair. even if there is a prize.


Jes said...

awwwww i was the little sister who won all the prizes and rubbed it in my older sisters face. now i feel bad too. =( good blog! i wasn't being "American" today and totally missed the game. Eh, next year... prob not. haha

Carroll said...

Well Julie, we have one thing in common at least. I too suck at sports. I too was the last one picked. I too was a good student scholastically but sports? Not so much. As a sophomore, my teacher felt so sorry for me she let me be the score keeper. Well at least I thought that was why. Good job on your blog!

Sherry said...

I liked p.e. and some sports. But I don't run well ... weak ankles ... hated running around the track. I was not the last chosen because of my jock type friends who were often team captains ... but I never was a player that excelled. One of my friends pointed out to me that in any sport where I made a point I apologized to the opponent. Tennis, badminten, basketball, ... It is like my brain couldn't handle success in sports. Your blog made me think about this ... Some strange part of my personality that surprised me in 1969.

Rollie said...

Babe, I just want you to know that I was proud of you. It takes a lot more intestinal fortitude to try and fail gracefully, than it does to win. And, for the record, even though I ended up doing well, there was a little part of me that was nervous when I stepped to the line, and I too was saying to myself, "At least get a couple of them in." The specter of missing all of them in front of a gang is daunting. Love You!

Diandra Ann said...

People like you are the reason I wanted to be a PE teacher :) I wanted to make it fun for everyone! And I thought you were cute. I cant help it that I was blessed with athletic ability... :)

mom said...

Given a choice of being athletic or intellectual, intelligence always wins out. Few people have it all. You never mentioned skiing and as I recall, you were a very good skier. I was the one sent to the "slow class."