Sports have never been my thing. When the SuperBowl comes around every Summer, I'm like, "Man, I don't know anything about basketball." Competition terrifies me. It's always been anxiety-inducing. See, I used to be a fat kid. My mom calls it, "prepubescent fat." I call it "too many afternoons watching the Montel Williams Show, eating fried lunch meat and RingDings."
I come from a decidedly non-sports family. We're not necessarily anti-sports but we don't go out of our way to watch them or participate in them. We're more of a politics and religion family than anything. We get excited about things like caucuses and primaries and Democratic National Conventions which are like the playoffs of politics. My parents attempted to get my brothers and I into sports when we were kids by signing us up for t-ball but I was usually the kid who ran the wrong way around the bases if I even hit the ball in the first place.
As if t-ball wasn't enough physical activity, we had our daily gym classes, aka "phy ed." I don't know if they still do the Presidential Fitness Test but it was alive and well when I was in elementary school. They should've called it the Presidential Fartness Test since every activity inevitably made you fart in your partner's face. Especially the sit-ups.
I think my sit-and-reach score was a negative number. I've never been flexible. Crunchy, yes. Flexible, no.
Then there were the gym teachers. Most of them were fairly nice but a lot of them were downright cruel. Not to me so much. I was adorable and I think they felt bad for me. No 8-year-old should have acne. Some of the other kids, though. Man. There was a kid named Marcus in my class who was pushing at least 200 lbs as a fifth grader. He's probably a linebacker for the Twins or something now but back then, he got a lot of shit from our gym teacher, Mr. Haynes. One time, Marcus sat on one of those square skateboard things that always pinched your fingers and it broke underneath him. Of course, Mr. Haynes pointed it out to the entire class and everyone laughed and laughed. I'd like to say I didn't laugh with them but, as a fat kid who wasn't being picked on for once, I may have been pretty elated. I hope Marcus looks at his Stanley Cup every night, thinking about that day in gym class and smiles to himself, knowing that he's really made it. And that Mr. Haynes is dead now.
For fear of being made fun of Marcus-style, I would usually daydream and make rock puzzles at recess and then go to the nurse's office for the lost and found sweatpants I would inevitably need because I peed my pants a lot. I am living proof that just because you were the antithesis of "cool" in elementary school, that doesn't mean you can't be super awesome in real life as an adult. Subjectively speaking. I do not wear sweatpants anymore ever. Too traumatic.
Having said all of that, I do love baseball. I have memories of watching games with my dad and listening to them in the car. I don't necessarily follow it but I enjoy watching it. Playing it, however, is a different story. I played softball in junior high and I actually really enjoyed it and I wasn't half bad at it. My team went to states or semi-states or city regionals or something. I almost tried out for the softball team in high school but I thought, "nahhh, competition scares me." So I got into theater instead... because theater is the least competitive thing in the history of everything ever...