Huntress of the Lens


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sports are only stupid to me OR My Epic Fail

There are two reasons I can think of for my epic fail as a supportive parent this softball season, not counting illness, which would make three.

One is that when I was a bumbling fat kid with little or no coordination I lived in the world of books. I only wanted to read, or draw, or do anything else that didn't include running. "Do we have to have her on our team? You take her." is humiliating when you're the last one left to be picked. "Laura, how about if you're the scorekeeper?" Fine alternative, but I would either hide my book on the clipboard or draw very nice illustrations around the paper, and I'm not sure I ever actually watched or counted the score. How mad can two teams of girls playing anything at all get when they find that no one knows who's actually winning a game? To be fair, I hid books inside math or science textbooks, right under the edge of desks, or anywhere else I could put them too so that I could read rather than do anything connected with school. I would ask to go to the bathroom, and stay gone for whole class periods reading in the stall with my feet up so no teacher could see them under the door.

The second is the fact that my Big Daddy, who never missed a weekend with me, worked at Anaheim Stadium back when the Angels were there. He did something big and important with parking lot people and ushers and ticket takers. I was sure he was the boss of the whole place, except for the hot dog and peanut guys who were separate. There was a room with a man who had straight pins in his mouth and a tape measure around his neck, and rows upon rows of polyester sport-coats and trousers for employees to wear. We would often start in that room. He was a very nice man who's name I don't remember. Maybe it was Al.

Maybe I was supposed to stay in there with him? I don't know, but I didn't. My Big Daddy had a walkie talkie, and would walk all around the whole stadium doing important things. I couldn't always go because he was working. I had free run of an entire ball-park, while stupid baseball went on and on forever before we could go have fun. Sometimes I would sit in this seat or that and read, but after a million hours I would get restless. I would go into doors marked "Employees Only" and down halls and through more doors until someone eventually confronted me. "Little girl, are you lost? You're not supposed to be in here." Sometimes stern, sometimes concerned. "Do you know who my Daddy is? You call him on your walkie talkie!" hand on hip, didn't he know who I was?

A golf cart would come and take me back to the coat room with the nice man. A whole baseball game is forever to wait when all you want is your dad, and the fun that just being with him always is. Did you know that a baseball announcer's voice echos and bounces off the top part of the seats if you go way up to the very top rows? Do I really remember that you can see the Matterhorn from there? Did you know that the Matterhorn was the tallest mountain in Orange County and you see it long before you pull into the Disney parking lot? I saw it as an adult a few years ago, it's really not that large. Tinkerbell used to come down a wire with a spotlight on her from the top of that mountain right before the fireworks started.

Baseball is boring and I hate it. It represents waiting forever to have fun, and "I need you to stay out of trouble." while the eons passed.

By ninth grade I had injured my knee, and actually got all 40 PE credits by drawing posters for the locker room to try and trick other girls into going out for sports that were stupid and boring. "Play Tennis!" in fancy cool letters, shaped like a tennis racquet. "Volleyball is fun!" which is a lie. "WHS Softball, building team spirit!" Whatever, they had to wear mustard yellow uniforms, not a good color for a fat girl on drugs. Showers used to be mandatory after PE, and the skinny girls would laugh at me naked and white as pure innocence, fat and awkward. I skipped all that. I hate sports, with a passion that is not rational. There is a law of basic physics that states: Any game played with a ball, will eventually hit me right in the face. I still have tetherball nightmares sometimes.

K and I were going to try out for drillteam there for a minute, but we smoked too much pot, and were discovering LSD and a best friendship that would endure for over thirty years. I think we went to two try-out practices. Boston- It's been such a long time, I think I should be going. I was a full on choir nerd, and only the drama kids were nerdier than we were, except they thought it was the other way around.

I hate sports so much that I have declared my home a sports-free zone. It was in Michael's pre-hire interview, whether or not he watched any of them on TV, because I would never have a game playing in my environment, that's a deal breaker. The super bowl, maybe, if no one will give me any shit if I read until the commercials come on. Probably not, no one can ever resist the urge to yell at the TV, and that bothers me enough to go out and kill random strangers. It's irrational and intense, this hatred of all sports, but it's as constant as the northern star, I can always navigate with that as a reference point.

I tried to go to one of Molly's games a couple of seasons ago, and the other parents gave me dirty looks. I'm all tattooed and read my book till my daughter is at bat. I only really care how she's doing, those are their kids and of no interest to me. I didn't go back. When Grandma and Grandpa were visiting recently we all went to a game, including two of her brothers. Between the crowd yelling things and the girls with their wood-pecker-to-the-head "Hey batter batter blah blah blah!" taunting chat I made it for two innings. Michael and I went to smoke, and since my car was right there I settled into the warm seat and couldn't get my headache back through the door opening to return to the game. I meant to read, but I fell blissfully asleep and missed the whole thing. That was my one attempt this season to watch the most important person to me, do the thing that is so important to her, the thing she's so good at.

Parental guilt, while a lot like roasting over a slow fire has not been enough to get me into the stands to root for her, although I've either taken her to practices or hooked her up with rides there if I felt too bad to drive. I know this has hurt her, and even that hasn't gotten me to games. Her dad and his wife are at almost every one, and I think they like it. I feel terrible about it, but I have those feelings at home, not at the Kiwanis stadium.

Last night Michael stopped by after work for the last inning and a half of the last game of the season, the game where Molly and her team went all the way to Champions of the season. He texted me constant updates. I shared them in facebook statuses. I became excited, I couldn't look away from my phone. If there were a job as a sports announcer via text, Michael could apply for it and get it, he's really good at it. They won. 5-3. I actually cried, over sports.

They are the champions!!!! I am totally proud, and happy for Molly who has worked really hard all season and even played with injuries because her team needed her. She's showed me commitment to a group, and drive, an ambition that I have never experienced. She is made of other ingredients than I am, although she is like me in so many other ways. Last night's game was the first sporting event I have ever cared one bit about, and felt anything at all about the outcome. My daughter is a winner, but I've been telling you that for as long as I've been blogging.

I'm just an epic fail when it comes to being there to see it.


  1. You are NOT an epic fail at anything Laura!

  2. I have very similar experiences and disdain for sports. I can remember the first day of PE back in grade school. No one ever asked if we all knew how to play sports. I guess it was just expected. So we got out on the field and I stood where they told me to stand and before I knew it everyone was screaming at me because I didn't do something I was supposed to. I was so terribly shy that I couldn't manage to explain that this was a new experience for me, so instead I quickly learned to feign illness or play the position I referred to as "extreme outfield" (which started as outfield and got further and further outfield until I was no longer on campus and I spent the hour wandering around neighborhoods near school). And I somehow managed to do that every day until I graduated high school.

    And watching sports? That makes no sense to me. So, you get bobus mothering points from me just for knowing what's going on at Molly's games. I'd be utterly perplexed.


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