As I mentioned yesterday, I believed that I was a poor athlete as a child. It was more than that really. At some point, I really thought I couldn't do much right at all physically. I was indeed, clumsy as a child, but I played kickball in the street with my sisters and neighborhood children. I have no memory of feeling like I was any worse (or any better) than any of the other children. We taunted each other saying things like "easy out" when someone was about to kick. I don't remember believing that. Some how the trash talk was just part of the game.
I'm not sure when the transition happened, but by 5th grade I believed that I was no good at any physical activity. I made that reality in the 7th grade. Gym was torture. The teacher/coach always seemed to send me the message at the beginning of the term that he/she could whip me in to shape and how good the physical activity would be for me. I remember being mortified. By the end of the semester we were both frazzled and relieved that the whole thing was over.
I was thrilled when I learned that I only had to get two PE credits in high school. That meant after 10th grade the torture would be over. In college, I took archery (which I loved) and badminton (which I got pretty good at). Neither activity, however was a team sport. If I lost, I lost. Oh well. I was not letting my teammates down if I blew a shot. Part of my 'success' was that the pressure was off. The other part, was, I wasn't really bad after all.
Also, during my college years, there was a group of us from church that did a lot of stuff together. Sometimes that involved things athletic. I still very much shied away from those things. Anytime, someone was getting a group to play basketball or soccer or something like that, I'd gladly go and spectate. I'd cheer equally for both teams. I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to be with my friends. But since I still wanted to be friends after the game, I opted not to play.
Finally, one day one of the guys asked why I never played. I confessed that I was no good. He said, somewhat in jest, that I was no worse than any of the other girls. He was slamming all the girls, but it was a bit of an aha moment for me. I began actually watching how well everyone played, and guess what? No one, male or female, scored all the time. Everyone messed up! The difference is, no one let that reinforce the idea that they were inept in any way. They shook it off and tried again. GASP!
Buoyed by those two experiences, I started taking an aerobics class. I did great. It was just counting & moving much like being a flag girl in the band, like I was in high school. The instructor was great. She loved what she was doing and any time any one needed guidance, she was great. She helped with adjusting form without making anyone feel like they were inept in anyway.
She was so good that when I was away at school, she sent me tapes & instructions so that I could do the routines on my own. I even got a little group of girls together in the dorm and led them. When I told her about that, she helped me become a certified instructor. I led groups for several years after graduation. Yes, the same child that quit PE in the fifth grade, was a leader in an aerobics class.
I don't do that anymore. Even though I feel more confident in my physical abilities, I'm not the first one to sign up for a team sport. I'll play with my family and friends for fun and that is what matters most anyway.
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5 days ago