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day 189: beach volleyball

Posted Jul 22 2010 12:00am
Beach Volleyball by opart

Image by opart on Etsy.com

Sometimes I have moments of partial memory loss where I forgot how terrible my coordination is. Moments where I can only remember my fitness level but completely forgot my lack of hand-eye coordination. That’s when I do something stupid like sign up for a sport league or a dance class. I generally steer clear of such activities, except in these moments of weakness, lured by the pretence of it being fun. It never is.

I am coordinated enough to put one foot in front of the other and run, but ask me to do something with my hands simultaneously and you’ll get a blank stare. Even worse is something like soccer where I have to use my legs for 2 things at once (gasp!) while my arms flail wildly in confusion. I once played pick-up soccer with friends and after repeated taunts of “you suck!” during the game, I refused to return. Then there was that one time that I was misguided enough to take a reggaeton dance class, unaware that reggaeton requires you move your shoulders and hips in different directions at the same time. Coordination: It’s all a bit too much for my brain to take.

In a fleeting moment of insanity I signed up for a beach volleyball league with friends. Our first game was on Wednesday. Before the games started I became really nervous as memories of volleyball season in high school gym class came to mind. All I remember was being teased by the good players and watching my P.E. grades plummet.

I suck at volleyball. I’m basically a spectator on the court. If I make any contact with the ball at all, it’s a miracle. I try to go for the ball most of the time, but sometimes I panic when I see it coming my way. I think “You’re going to fuck this up” and move just out of the way. The worst part of playing is the words of encouragement. I know they’re well-meaning, but do I really need to hear “Good try Sam!” as the ball flies over my head in my attempt at an easy volley? It’s like reinforcing the fact that I’m just not good enough. I want to scream: “It wasn’t a good try! It was a terrible try! If I got the ball over the net but failed to get a point, that would be a good try. You and I both know that sucked, so lets just all shut up, okay?” But instead I grind my teeth and try not to have an outburst.

Our team is not very competitive, and none of us are really that good (we lost 5 out of 6 games), but I still seem remarkably bothered by my own poor performance.  It’s a metaphor for life, really: me being dejected by things I can’t accomplish. I want to be good at everything, or at least average, and when I’m not– when I watch myself fail– I get upset. Even if I’m failing at something I care little about. It’s tough to be good at volleyball but I think it’s even tougher to accept the fact that I’m not good and just have fun. Because when it comes down to it, it’s really just playing in the sand. And who wouldn’t love to play in a giant 16m x 8m sandbox?

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