Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested: Part 3

Elementary school was both a blessing and sheer torture. I have always loved learning, and I had exceptional teachers for the most part. I was either at the top of every class or nearly so, PE being the notable exception. I never understood why I was picked last for games in PE: I was the tallest girl, easily the most flexible, and had great reflexes. But even through high school, if we were told to split into our own teams, I was invariably chosen dead last. Even the nerdy kids didn’t want me on their team, a fact which hurt immensely. Recess was a nightmare. I wasn’t coordinated enough for the monkey bars, and after a few tetherballs to the face, I gave that up. The boys wouldn’t let me play baseball, and the girls wouldn’t let me in on foursquare or hopscotch. I spent most of my recesses sitting at the base of these three huge fir trees that grew right in the middle of the playground surrounded by screaming kids, yet completely alone. The best recess I ever had was in 4th grade when my teacher pulled me aside and told me I didn’t have to go outside for recesses anymore. She let me stay in and play on the computer through every recess for the rest of the year. (I still think she’s the best teacher ever, and my fondness for the game The Oregon Trail is strong.)

Since those years in elementary school, I’ve been told by a few close friends that I am beyond uncoordinated. It isn’t so much that I dislike running--it is that I simply cannot do it well. My arms go one way, my legs and feet kick out behind me awkwardly, and don’t get me started on where my boobs go. I’m a hot mess if I try running. Sure, I can lob a basketball at a hoop when nobody is around, but with the confusion of teammates giving me commands and the coach telling me to pass the ball to someone else, the sound of the ball as it springs from the floor to my hands as I dribble… somewhere in all of that, my ability to throw the ball is lost.

I never grew out of being uncoordinated. I still walk into doorways, clip my hips on the end of the bed, and generally have bruises on my legs and arms from some too-close encounter of the clumsy kind. I don’t know how to spiral a football, how to curve a baseball, or how to head a soccer ball. I can’t stand playing team sports. I don’t like gyms with all of their smells and noises, movement and sweating. The only real exercise I get is from walking, which is just fine for me, but anything more complicated than that is beyond awkward and embarrassing.

Despite my lack of gross motor coordination, I have highly refined fine motor skills. My handwriting is excellent, and I have no trouble making detailed origami folds, threading tiny beads, or making exact cuts in fabric. I am as gifted with my hands as I am ungifted with the rest of my body.

On The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon exhibits his own awkward body movements when he and Penny go running one day. Poor guy, the elevator might have been less risky. I can’t count the number of times I’ve done exactly the same thing (well, minus the, ahem, ending).

And yet one more example of Sheldon's athletic skill, I give you this second clip.  Seriously, the actors are way more talented and adept than I am on the court.  I can't tell you how many times I've smacked myself in the face with a basketball.

1 comment:

cm0978 said...

I can relate to the sports experience. I was always chosen last for softball because I can't throw. (And if you saw the video, you know I can't swing a stick accurately either.) I hope that practice has been outlawed at every school in the world.