Today I'm playing in the faculty vs. student basketball game in which the women faculty are going to be playing against the 9th grade girls' team. Now this wouldn't be an especially big deal if it weren't for the fact that I don't play basketball. At all. In P.E. I was always picked second to last (unless my best friend was absent, in which case I would be picked very last). I sometimes would play poison at lunch time, but that was in junior high and I can count on one hand the number of times I've touched a basketball since.
The thing is, I'm not that uncoordinated. I love dance, and I can confiscate a hacky sack from my students in mid flight. It's just taken me a while to get to this point. My older sister that I always wanted to be like hated P.E., so I hated it to. She didn't do sports, so I didn't either. I grew up thinking I wasn't athletic, so I would psych myself out. It even got to the point that I hated having teachers toss candy to students for giving the right answer, because I knew I wouldn't be able to catch it. Pathetic, I know. Then an amazing thing happened--one day I stopped caring whether or not I looked like an idiot and I actually caught it. Up to that point I hadn't considered the possibility that the problem wasn't so much in my muscles and reflexes and it was in my mind. Now if this were a story in "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul," I would now say that this realization made me an incredible athlete overnight and I went on to lead the school basketball team to the state championship. But it didn't. A lifetime of avoiding sports hasn't exactly made me in touch with my athletic side. And I still get cold sweats when they announce that we'll be playing volleyball at the ward picnic. So when they asked me to play basketball, I wasn't exactly skipping though the halls with joy.
In hopes that they could help me not make a fool of myself, I had my friends Mary Ann and Ben give me a crash course in basketball yesterday afternoon. It went surprisingly well, and after we were done I was actually a little excited to play. Today though, my shooting arm is tired, my right buttock is sore, and the anxiety is starting to come back. Don't get me wrong, I know I'll suck it up and have fun with it no matter what, it will just be a lot easier to have fun if I'm not terrible.
So why, you ask, did I agree to play? Guilt, pure and simple. There were only four other faculty members that were going to play, so I would feel bad if the whole thing got canceled just because I wouldn't play. Stupid conscience. Well, I guess there's nothing for it but to play my guts out, not worry about what other people think, and laugh a lot. At least I know Eleanor Roosevelt would be proud of me--I'm doing something today that scares me.