The Trouble with Team Sports

I suck at sports. There, I said it. Now it’s out there in the open for all to read. Well, those who know me personally wouldn’t find this surprising in the least. I am a klutz. I have horrible coordination skills that I’m surprised that I can put one foot in front of the other…okay, that one may be taking it a step too far. But I was that kid in gym class that no one wanted on their team. I could not shoot a basket, make a goal, or bat a ball to save my life. Team sports was right out. Even now. You don’t want to get me started on how awful of a volleyball player I am. Let’s just say, I don’t believe that I’ve gotten the ball over the net…once. So sad.

Yet I write this because as an Aspie we are usually known for our lack of coordination. An aunt told me once that I walked like a truck driver. Not a very flattering comment to give to a young girl, I’d say. As for dancing…I don’t do it because, well it ain’t pretty! Fast dancing or slow, I have the two-left feet syndrome. I was not blessed with good hand-eye coordination so playing a jovial game of tennis with my beloved husband is more of a Monty Python sketch, if anything. And for skiing. Good Lord it was like the ABC sports opener…the agony of defeat. Going downhill once, one ski went to the left, one went to the right and I went tumbling down. I couldn’t even get up with the tow line…and once I was trying to get off the chairlift and wasn’t too graceful getting off of it. Tore a bit of ligament in my knee. Ah, sports. Good thing my parents weren’t sports-minded(well, except for soccer) or I’d be a miserable failure in their eyes.

But let me tell you the sport(s) I believe that I’m good at. Running. I love to run. Maybe because it is a solitary sport that I don’t need to impress anyone but myself. I only compete against myself, trying to push a little bit harder and a little faster each time. I can wave to those passing by but can listen to music, or to my own thoughts, or a little bit of both usually. And running was the only sport that, back in 8th grade, I was actually picked first for a team. Well, the team captain had seen me run before with my cousins who lived across the street from him, so I guess it was a no-brainer for him. But I was so excited and honored to be chosen! And our team came in 3rd place in the entire school. And I even won a second-place ribbon for the 100-yard dash. The pride, the joy,(the humility), to have my name called out in front of the school to receive an award for a sport’s achievement!

Well, let’s just say that I still have those ribbons stashed away to remind me of that wonderful day. And thank you, Ted, for choosing the awkward, quiet girl for your team. I will never forget that gift to my thirteen year-old self. Maybe that’s why I love running so much. It brings with it happy memories of success. Oh, and the other sport I’m pretty good at, by the way, is badminton.

Loving the Mirror

When I was attending junior high school, I began going through a serious identity crisis.  I didn’t like who I was or what I was becoming.  My body was awkwardly changing, and I felt cursed by a raging case of acne.  I thought that I was the ugliest girl alive and that I’d never find someone to marry me.  My fellow classmates didn’t help matters either.  I became bitter and angry.  And suicidal.  I didn’t see any worth within myself.  I felt that my looks and my life would never improve.  But fortunately, they did.

As I grew older and matured, my acne disappeared and I met and married a wonderful man.  It’s a shame how young people, particularly girls, view themselves in the mirror.  If only they could see their worth through the eyes of the Creator.  God does not make junk.  Created in His image, we are a genetic mix of our parents’ DNA.  God sees us as beautiful, as we should also.  And along with that we should not be so harsh in the judgement of others either.  They are who they are.

All teens go through the “I-hate-the-way-I-look” phase.  And it is only that, a phase.  Girls need to be more forgiving of themselves during these formative years.  Trust me, things will get better.  Sadly, though, many girls go through serious addictions due to their distorted images of themselves.  Eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, and even cutting themselves to help relieve the pain that they are experiencing.  And the pain that they feel is real.  Especially painful if they do not have a loving and trusted parent or adult in their life that they can turn to for counsel.  

I want you to know that you are beautiful just as you are.  Looks do change as you get older.  Do not be so hard on yourselves.  There is a light at the end of this tunnel called ‘teenage angst’.  You do need to accept yourself  just as you are even if others do not.  There is nothing you can do about that anyway.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made, to quote scripture.  You can either be your own biggest cheerleader or your harshest critic.  Choose wisely, friends.