Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Run Forrest Run

All of my life...well maybe just in the teen years...I struggled with feelings of being inadequate in one particular area of life. Athletics. I am capable of a good many things, but put a ball in my hand, skates on my feet or a helmet on my head and something supernatural happens to me. it's as if I have entered a new dimension. One in which I cannot move freely, feel the competition nor understand what everyone else around me is easily comprehending. I am athletically handicapped.

This is easy to live with now, but as an insecure teenager with several sport champions as best friends, it was daunting. My boyfriend, at the time was captain of the High School hockey team and football team member, my girlfriends all enjoyed basketball and soccer road trips without me and I had no jersey number to tote :( I actually did make the soccer team in grade ten only to be the sole player cut from the team the next year. Humiliating. Haunting. Still recovering.

Fortunately, my parents, who are still under the impression that I'm perfect (sshhh!) were able to float me along these fragile years with my head sufficiently puffed up. One thing my husband continues to remind me about is the fact that I could run like the wind. From Sunday School picnics as a child to recreational races in my 20's, I could pass anyone on a straightaway. As long as I didn't have to think about anything like following a play, moving my body in any special way and only had the ONE guy beside me to keep my eye on, I was ok. Just run. Run fast and be the first. THAT, I could do.

Life has a funny way of balancing things. Somehow, this kinesthetically awkward girl gave birth to at least three out of four (so far) athletes. My boys think, sleep, move and breathe sports. And they have loads of talent. That is a miracle. I would have voted for music or art to be our "thing", but sports it is. Music is our minor :) They can play anything! And are really good! Hockey, football, water skiing, snowboarding are their specialties. I blame it on their Gramma.

My husband's 78 year old mother is a jock. She has the spunk and size of Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies with the grace and sophistication of Queen Elizabeth. She stands a whole 5 feet donning angora sweaters and lipstick, but put a football in her hand and watch what happens in her eyes. She knows who is leading who in whatever sport you mention, even if she doesn't watch it. Her barn full of trophies is a legacy we frequently brag about. She is the youngest of her siblings and had 7 brothers. Most of whom were athletes too. She grew up on a team. Her son inherited the blessing...and now our kids. It's in the blood. Of course it's on my side of the family as well. My niece is competing in the Canada Games as I write we are surrounded.

I spent the day yesterday with my kids downhill skiing/snowboarding. My ankles are chaffed from following my little girl up and down the bunny hill about 6,582 times. The boys were gone. Fearlessly speeding down a steep mountain, jumping ramps and somehow easily stopping at the bottom of the hill, just in front of the glass windows of the Chalet. I would go right through the windows. Even my 9 year old took me on ONE "easy" run. "The Lazy Way" it's called. I don't consider myself lazy, but my thighs were burning and my heart was pounding by the time we were done. I was more interested in taking pictures of the gorgeous view at the top than the ride down. I let small mounds of ski gear pass me left and right. I suppose there were children underneath those mounds, but their goggles were too dark to see eyes. Little fearless flyers. My baby boy "waited" for me. I wondered why Social Services wasn't there removing children from their parents for letting them do such a dangerous thing. My daughter, though still on the Bunny Hill, wants to tuck herself forward and head straight down the hill to pick up as much speed as possible. No side to side frolicking for her...just speed please. My big boys were clad in colorful sports clothing, high tech face masks and performing stunts I'm better off not seeing. I'm severely outnumbered. Speed and heights make me queezy.

So, life is balancing itself out. I didn't intend to live my athletic dream out in my children. I kind of left that dream behind, but there it is. I'm still not an athlete, but the Mom of athletes. I'm like that famous football guy's mom who makes hearty soup for him and his teammates. The commercial has her lovingly surrounded with hugs by these musclebound, athletic geniuses. I can make soup. I can make a MEAN soup.

I think I have found my calling in this life.

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