Friday, March 5, 2010

Spin Cycle- Sports

Spin, spin, spin.  Yeah, I'm getting this one just under the wire.  Considering the theme, maybe I'm the last batter up at the bottom of the 9th?  Let's hope it's a home run, shall we?

Let me start this post by reminding everyone that I am 5 feet tall and weigh 100lbs soaking wet.  By no powers of my own.  It's always been this way (no, don't ask me about my diet.  I'm pretty sure there's a reason that Yoohoo and Twinkies are not marketed as diet foods).  Add to this fact that I have the coordination of a chimp on acid.  No, I'm not kidding.

Needless to say, I've had a tentative relationship with sports.  As a kid, I was always the  last one picked for teams.  Which is to say, I wasn't picked.  Mostly, some poor group of kids got stuck with me.  No, stop trying.  There is not a single team sport that small, uncoordinated girls excel at.  I promise.  Even swimming favors the tall and strong.  There were a few sports that I didn't completely suck at (I did play field hockey and swim in HS), but I was never MVP or anything like that.  I played first string on the FH team in HS only because the options for the coach were limited.

And then came college (enter a luminous glow).  Where they had a rowing team (cue angels singing).  No, no (screeching record sounding a halt) I didn't row.  5 feet tall, remember?  The rowing team recruited me as a coxswain.  The only competitive team sport in the world that values being as small as possible.  Where it's such an advantage to be small that they have low limits to keep things competitive!  Ahhhh.

Shake the image that the coxswain is just a little person who yells all day.  These days they have a microphone system that runs through the bottom of the boat, so no yelling is necessary.  But more important is that yelling at the crew is the least of the coxswain's jobs.  Please note that a rowing shell is about 55 feet long.  Someone has to steer that banana down the river.  And the coxswain is the only one who can actually see where the boat is going (everyone else faces backwards).  So, the most important thing a coxswain does is steer.  Straight.  Or the best possible route down the river (whichever is necessary for that race).  There are tactics, and strategy and all sorts of other stuff, too.  It's no small job.  

I had finally found a sport for me.  It didn't hurt that no physical exertion was required, either.  I coxed all through college, and for a long time after that.  I coached for a long time, too.  I even met PB through rowing.  He was coaching out of the same boathouse I was back in the mid-2000's (wow, that looks awkward, doesn't it?  How exactly are we supposed to denote that period of time?)

-->  Short side story.  PB and I met in the summer of 2003.  I had been coaching for about 7 years at that point.  He was fresh out of college.  He was still the happy little lab pup, with the floppy ears and the over large feet.  I was the middle age dog who has learned to wait calmly for everything.  He had always rowed with well funded programs.  Real coaches, and lots of equipment. (don't get me wrong, I was this way straight out of school, too)  But now we were rowing in a boathouse of two college clubs.  Underfunded, under staffed.  Under everything.  I'm pretty sure I  wanted to smack that happy go lucky smile off his face when we first met.  Nope, I'm sure of it.  Needless to say, the goofy smile never left his face, and I grew to appreciate and even like it in the end.  Sometimes the old dog makes the young pup grouchy.  Sometimes the young pup reminds the old dog how much fun it is to chase your tail, right?

-->  Back to the story.  Oh, wait, was there more to the story?  Eh, maybe not.  Rowing just turned out to be my sport.

Recently I had an inner revelation, though.  I had no idea why LG's growing problems bothered me so much.  Until I thought about this post.  Nobody wants to be the littliest in the class, but especially if you're a boy.  You have to be extra scrappy if you're going to make it in playground sports.  I'm hoping LG will average out by the time he reaches school.  Because I'm pretty sure my Dad's lessons on how to be the littliest kid on the playground will not go over well at a modern school.  Hit fast and hit hard don't really scream "I play well with others".  

And with that thought, I'm out.  Till next week, internets.  Have a good one.


VandyJ said...

Cute side story on how you met PB. Swimming was the only thing sporty I did in high school. I was more drama oriented.

Jan said...

Just let me sit here and envy your metabolism for a few minutes. *sigh*

I didn't play organized sports as a kid, but both of my sisters played soccer for many years. Instead, I learned to ride a motorcycle. To this day, I love the things.

Sprite's Keeper said...

Row, row, row your boat...
I love this Spin! Are you and PB still active at all in rowing?
You're linked!

CaJoh said...

Back… Back… Back…
Hey Hey… it's a Home Run!!!

I just love the fact that you steered the boat. Sometimes you never realize just how important a particular position is until someone explains it to you.

Thanks for knocking it out of the park for us today.

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I never actually met a coxswain. Cool. And what a unique way to meet the hubby.
I didn't realize you were small; that explains your kick-ass personality. I don't mean that as a dis; size probably has little to do with personality, but maybe you get my drift, as you're already expressing concern about LG. If he has half your gumption, he'll be just fine. I dated a guy smaller than me and over time he got smaller in my eyes. I would date a shorter guy again, but his personality would have to make him grow bigger as time went on.
But I digress...
And oh, I used to have that killer metabolism. Till the hour I turned 40. Enjoy it now, altho maybe you'll keep it forever. In which case I'll never speak to you again. Only kidding. xo

Anonymous said...

Just a reminder great things come in small packages (for example dynamite!) Don't worry about LG's size...they eventually will tower over you as well!

Erin@TheLocalsLoveIt said...

I so want to say something crafty about coxswaining? But my brain is broken.

I loved this story though. I too am not down with modern "play nice in the sandbox" tactics. If needed (meaning the other guys starts it) a swift left hook or kick in the shins is okay in my book.

only a movie said...

Wow, cool story. I had no idea you were so petite! Isn't it interesting how your size informs lots of things in life? My child is extra tall and it has completely influenced everything in his life so far.

gretchen said...

That is very cool. I never had any idea what a coxswain actually did. I just like saying that word...coxswain. Cool.

I had the opposite problem with sports. I'm really tall - 5'10", so everybody assumed that I could play basketball or volleyball. Coaches tried to recruit me. But I had absolutely no interest or talent whatsoever. A total klutz, afraid of any kind of ball being thrown at me. A disaster.