Friday, August 20, 2010


Let me start off by saying that I'm the most un-athletic person ever. I can't catch to save my life. You know that episode of Friends where they call Chandler a dropper? Yeah, that's me. Don't ever toss me anything that is remotely breakable.

I never played team sports in school. I took the absolute bare minimum amount of Phys Ed classes that I needed, and bolted out of the gym. Granted, I did join a swim team outside of school (my high school had no pool), but that's hardly a team sport. Sure, I trained with some great teammates, but in swimming, you usually don't need to directly depend on others to perform.

I only started my involvement in team sports two years ago, when - with my husband's encouragement - I decided to join his just-for-fun softball and volleyball teams.

What kept me from sports in the past was fear: fear of disappointing my teammates, fear of being looked down on, fear of failing. I've always had a fear of failing; I have little patience to learn things that I don't pick up quickly. I didn't want to face disapproving looks if I messed up a play. So I never let others would depend on me.

At first, I apologized every time I messed up a play. Everyone always said, "It's OK." Then I started noticing that they'd cheer especially loudly for me if I actually made a play. I thought they were patronizing me.

And then I realized something - it's really annoying when players apologize for missed plays. It's negative energy that the team doesn't need. Dwelling on a missed play won't get the point back, and brings everyone down. But encouraging your teammates to play on despite a lost point, and celebrating the victories, does so much to keep up the right attitude. Momentum is SO important in sports - figuratively, and literally.

One day, I will gladly become a soccer/hockey/baseball/your-favourite-sport mom if my future children can learn this lesson sooner than I did, at age 29.

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