An Athlete After All

Sunday, March 21, 2010

There is a funny story about me as a kid. My parents asked me if I wanted to play t-ball for the summer. I replied, “Do I have to?”
That was the beginning and end of my athletic career.
I was a dancer, you see. I did not have a desire to play t-ball, or any other sport. I wanted to concentrate on ballet, tap, and jazz - which is exactly what I did from age 3 until college. I thought of dance as my sport, and I didn’t want anything to distract from that. I loved dancing, and I am grateful for all those lessons, recitals, competitions, shoes, sparkly costumes, untold amounts of hairspray, and yes, even some trophies. But it was during my college years that I began to regret never even trying a sport.
Well, let me be accurate. There were a couple of miserable attempts at trying. One summer, when my mom was taking some college classes, she enrolled my brother and me in tennis lessons. The college was in a town about 30 miles from where we lived, and I remember being grateful that I would never have to see my fellow tennis players again. I was terrible. As an 11 year old, I was stuck with the 7 year olds who (like me) were taking their first lessons. While I could leap and pirouette like a rock star, I could not hit that ball with that racket. I still hate tennis. Then there was my summer on swim team. Another “she’s too old to be trying this for the first time” experience. I was 16, and a good swimmer (a life guard, in fact), but no match for kids who had been swimming competitively since the womb. I came home from our first practice, literally laid at my mother’s feet, and begged her to let me quit. She did not. I collected lots of purple 7th place ribbons that summer, and I learned to be humble. Very humble.
So when I got to college and met other girls who had not only danced their way through adolescence, but had also played basketball, soccer, softball, and yes, tennis, I was a little jealous. I regretted not taking my parents up on that t-ball offer, long ago. I don’t think I would have been very good, but I sort of wished I had some, minimal, athletic skill.
Then I had kids. Boys, to be specific, and I think God is using them to bring out my inner athlete. All they want to do is run, throw balls, run, catch balls, and run some more. I have been forced to spend hours in the backyard, kicking the soccer ball around, and guess what, they think I am awesome! I have found that I can hit a baseball off a tee, and I can even throw the ball up in the air and whack it with the bat across the yard. The boys squeal, and go chasing after the balls. They say, “Yea! Mommy!” and they don’t even laugh when I whiff. I’m sure one day they will roll their eyes and ask me not to participate in their backyard games. But for now, I am an athlete, and I love it.

share this on »

2 Responses to “An Athlete After All”

  1. Oh,Court! I LOVE this particular topic of yours:) And I have another memory for you, my long-time friend. I can't remember when, but it was certainly during high school, when I first took you to the tennis courts to help you with tennis. Now don't misunderstand me dear readers, Courtney is EASILY one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen up close and in person, with the grace and elegance of a true dancer. But tennis.... Hmmmmm. It didn't go quite as smoothly. I certainly got a workout, though, from chasing balls down on the other courts, behind the fence, etc. To say she wasn't a natural is an understatement:) But, as anyone who has the privilege of knowing Courtney can attest, she truly gave it her all. She honestly tried and worked very hard. But then again, that's Courtney's nature. One of the MANY things I admire about her. And despite her modestly, Courtney truly does have genuine athletic ability. I might beat her in tennis, but she could wipe the floor with me in dance. And that athletic ability can't necessarily be learned. I think the moral of this story is that there is truly an athlete within each of us. It may take some time to discover where your true talents and interests lay, but when you do figure it out, well, it's simply priceless:)

  2. Court! You were Miss ROTC! You used to run mile after mile and lift so much weight that your arms swelled! You are a good athlete. And you are correct, dancing takes a lot of athletic ability!