The summer I stayed with Randy and Katrina, I rode Katrina's bike all around the neighborhood. Their house sits at the bottom of a hill. The game was to see how fast you go down that hill without crashing into some car or what not in the intersection at the bottom of the hill. We played dangerous games. I'm pretty sure we didn't think so then. But looking back it all now, we probably shouldn't have been speeding full blast down hills that had intersections at the bottom. Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times we flew down that hill, giddy with how much speed we'd pick up. One time, I came flying down that hill and decided at the last minute to make a left hand turn in that intersection. It was a bad decision. I was going to too fast to make the turn, so as I turned the bike just laid over. Me and the bike went skidding half way down the street. The neighbor across the street was outside watering his yard and witnessed the whole thing. He watched as I peeled myself off the pavement and picked up the bike. "Are you OK?" he shouted. My whole left side was a mix of blood and gravel, yet I raised my chin and without one quiver in my voice, replied "I'm fine". Then I turned the bike around and walked it back up the drive. I leaned the bike up next to the garage where it belonged before marching into the house. That's where I fell apart. I cried while Katrina cleaned up the mess of my arm and leg. I still have a scar on my pinky finger from that wreck, lucky there's not more. We were encouraged to sign up for corporate challenge this year so I put my name on the list for a few events. The walk was an easy choice, but I also signed up for softball thinking that they wouldn't really need me. I know nothing about softball. I played wiffle ball in elementary school and I remembered being fairly decent at that. Michael's been teaching me how to use a baseball glove to catch a ball. I figured that if I had to play, I'd at least be able to catch a ball. Our first game was early (7 AM early) Saturday morning. Our "coach" had put me down as catcher in the playlist. All I had to do was stand behind home plate and catch the ball. Easy peasy. He threw a practice pitch at me and the ball hit my glove and bounced up into my face with a loud "smack". I stood up and shook my head while Coach came running over to check on me. I gingerly felt inside my mouth with my fingers, checking my teeth. I could taste the metallic taste of blood. Coach asked me if I wanted to quit. I wiped my bloody fingers on my pants and said "No. I still got my teeth." Someone from the dugout yelled "She's got the taste of blood! She's ready to play now!". Well, I don't know about that, but I played the game with an ice pack stuck to my face in between innings.
It must be pride. Here I had a perfectly good excuse to pull myself from the game, go home and pull the covers up over my head. I mean who schedules things at 7 AM on a Saturday morning any way? I was not excited to be on the team. Any attempt to play sports has left me feeling like an awkward gangly ungraceful fool. Honestly I pretty much feel like an awkward gangly ungraceful fool just walking down a sidewalk. Add a ball and something that requires hand/eye coordination and then picture a gorilla on ice skates with a hockey stick and that's the image I have of myself attempting to play anything sports. I will concede that I probably do not look like a gorilla. Maybe a hippo or a cow. I think maybe it's fairly obvious what happens to my self esteem when trying to play sports. Put me on a yoga mat and ask me to bend into a pretzel shape or stand in Vrksasana (tree pose) and (in my head) I am a beautiful graceful ballerina. Throw a ball at me and it's another story. Here I had a giant bloody lip that I could have used to my advantage, instead I spit blood out of my mouth and said let's play this fucking ball game. Just like I walked, not limped, my bike back to the house after that wreck. Because bottom line, I am not a quitter and I'm tough. I also like to think I'm a little bit of a bad ass. Michael and I have joked all weekend that it looks like he hit me. In the middle of one of these jokes he turned to me and said "you do know that I would NEVER hit you right?". I said "Of course, but if you ever did? After I pulled myself off the floor? I'd beat the shit out of you." We both know I totally would too. I may look like a gorilla on ice skates attempting to play hockey, but I'm not giving up with out a fight. I will pick up that bike and I will wipe the blood on my shirt and keep on going.
I don't know if this should be taken as a warning or a testament.