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.

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Not Your Typical Woman

I am a strange woman. Not your typical woman, oh no, not by a long shot! A typical Aspie, I am. I struggle with making eye contact, or I try very hard to maintain eye contact but normally wind up shutting my eyes when talking to people. Drives my family crazy. Nutty as it may sound, that looking into people’s eyes is actually painful to me. Why? Haven’t figured that one out. And this may sound creepy, but I feel by looking into someone’s eyes tells a lot about their perception of you. A judgment of sorts. I hate being judged.

And I also fit the Aspie trait of clumsiness. Oh how I do fit. I suck at team sports to the point that in gym classes throughout my school years my classmates would consider themselves cursed when I was put on their team. And I did not disappoint! Oh no. The only sport I’ve ever excelled in was running, and not because I was constantly being chased by school bullies.

I cannot sit still. I have my movements well under control since my youth, but I like to rub my feet together when sitting and watching t.v. at night or shaking my legs while seated, like I’m doing now. I panic when getting lost, or when I can’t find an object. I cry over stuff that most women wouldn’t normally cry over, like, why doesn’t that person like me? I overcompensate. I try so hard to read people, and I take things literally. Someone can say something and it isn’t meant as an insult, and I see it as a slight.

I have a vivid imagination. I love writing, and getting lost within the pages of a romance book, especially when it’s spicy. I don’t have the best grooming habits. When I was younger, I’d go days without combing my hair. I’m not much for makeup, except when we go out. The older I get, the more I see a need for it. But I think I still look young for my age.

So as my fellow Aspies and I go about our daily lives, struggling, sometimes, to fit in, and to be loved and accepted just like everyone else, remember that we have feelings too. Accept us as we are. Quit giving us strange looks. We are who we are. We just look at things differently, it’s not like we’re from another planet or something. So, yes, I am not typical. But you know something, I am happy to be just that. I’m me. And I have accepted that about myself.