Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Me in Sports (there is none)

As a kid, I HATED playing sports. I played soccer for two years when I was young and cried almost every game, so my parents finally let me quit. When I went to summer church camp, I refused to play sports and it became a joking matter. I must have been forced to participate in some sport activities in PE, but I started homeschooling in 5th grade and didn't have to play sports after that. However, as I got older, it wasn't necessarily that I didn't have an interest in sports, it was that not knowing how to play sports was a great source of shame.

That's what sports have become to me. 

Until the age of 16, I was highly active in dance. After I quit dance, I realized I needed to find some other activity so I began going to the gym. I loved going to Boot camp and kickboxing and cycling class, and later I became really involved in running. I really love these "sporty" activities, but I still avoid group sports. I never learned to play them as a kid, and playing them now makes me feel highly uncomfortable. I feel stressed out the whole time because I am worried about the ball/frisbee/whatever coming to me.  

I sit out whenever I can, which makes me feel embarrassed because I hate sitting out, but I hate not being good at sports even more. This week, our church youth group is playing Ultimate Frisbee, and I'm already nervous. 

I have tried to reason out why sports are such a source of stress and shame for me. It's not like the people I'm playing with are going to treat me badly if I'm not so great. I think the real reason is that I'm highly competitive, so if I can't be good at something, I'd rather not even do it.  

What's the moral of this story? Well, there isn't really one. I just see that being able to comfortably play sports has become huge in our culture and that I think it's important that kids learn so they can enjoy it. I sure wish that I had just learned to play a few when I was a kid (this message is for you, Melissa). 

Oh, and I do love kickball.  #icankickaballandrun

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