Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Nowhere near the finish line

My younger did not 1) like playing sports except for kickball and handball which outside of urban areas am not sure either is even frequently played 2) did not care that I did not like sports and 3) did what I had to (pain, fake asthma with Primetene mist, lots of menstrual cramps) do my Oscar worthy performances to get out of gym.  I did not like high school gym in particular - I went to a school with a dress code and there is nothing appealing about taking off a white button down shirt, stockings and having to do them back while maintaining make up in place and hair not looking like a Brillo had decided to make it it's poster child.  I also had no desire to hit the soccer ball with my head, pretend that the mere fact that I shared an ethnicity with Nadia Comanici meant I had any interest in hanging from uneven bars, walking on a toothpick sized, high off the ground wooden beam and jump (say whaa?), tumble (see Brillo hair comment) or let's see maim myself jumping over some sort of medieval torture wooden block called a horse.  Oh high school gym was fun ... not.  I remember doing something called the President's Fitness test we had to run around our high school, it was a pretty long schlep around 2 long blocks, I had someone wait for me out of teacher sight, drive me while we shared a smoke and hang out so it was not obvious because let's face it they knew there was no way I suddenly found my inner Hermes.

However, as an adult I found that I actually enjoyed exercise and even an actual sport .  I still have no desire to attempt gymnastics or soccer but I do my circuit training with some modicum of determination and I find that my love of walking has transferred to actually walking for exercise.  As a city kid I walked, a lot, everywhere but it was never for exercise it literally was to get from one place to another.  At one point I thought I might like Yoga, I did and then I did not.  I am not a "classes" person.  This is partially because for some reason my body chooses to display a dyslexia that I normally do not - they go left I go right because their left and my left well you know.  I also tend to always wind up next to that woman .. yeah that one.  You know the perky one who tells me this is her first or second time but yeah that woman somehow seems to be catching the eye of the instructor (hate the super perky ones or the ones that missed their drill sergeant water boarding calling - somewhere in the middle if it must be) and she is coordinated and not sweating and me well ... picture a red face, total confusion about the next step and a big FU look because I remember that I have no reason to be there.

I find that I love tennis  -- which I started in my 40s --- and I love walking.  I started doing some races with my kids.  Maybe I also hated sports because I am totally not competitive.  I do not care if I win and I usually am really good at encouraging those who are about to ahead of me.  I only do races that are for a charity that I support.  I have done the Komen race, and struggled one year when I thought they were going to go uber conservative and not support Planned Parenthood (they saw the error of their ways) but then they righted course, I used to do the AIDS walk (somehow lately this one is hard to do because it always interferes with a sport event for my kids) and I do a town race that raises money for enrichment and education in my town.

The Komen race always happens the week of 9/11.  I know we lost so much on that day, wound still open, and I know that at the Komen race there are so many who lost loved ones too.  I love that who we are as New Yorkers on the day of the Komen race is everything the terrorists who hit on 9/11 are not - diverse, loud, happy, willing to band together to do something for good, anonymous except for one loud, empowered voice.  We are also many women strong in this race - must make those psycho fundamentalists froth in their rabid small minds to see in action what they fear so much - women with power, women who do not need their permission, women who choose not to hide.

I do these with my sons because I like having them understand a sense of community, a sense that on a day off doing something that benefits others is a great way to spend their time and mostly because the power of the positive that these races generate has already begun to make a mark on the men they will be.  I love when we see the finish line ... but no where as much as I love the walk itself with them.  Maybe I did not hate sports, definitely didn't like them, as much as I just couldn't relate to them.  Maybe I was insecure and did not want to fail (long blog and many therapy session on that one) but now I see my presence as a win.  I am not sure of the change but it goes along with something I know is true -- for me, for many of my female friends in particular - where we start in our lives is nothing like the finish line ... and what a great, tough, rewarding, exhausting, adrenaline high, muscle shaking low the race we call life is.   I am glad in that one I am no where near the finish line.

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