Confessions of a non-athlete

Ever since Mark started soccer this year, he has absolutely loved it, but last night was the first time he was actually really engaged in the game – kicking the ball (in the right direction, even!) and really getting into the game. I breathed a sigh of relief, not that I particularly care about the game, but I was worried that I would pass on my genetic inability to play competently in a team sport.

My non-athleticism is somewhat legendary. In gym class, I was that girl who would scream and duck whenever the ball came in my direction, apparently foreshadowing the incident that would take place years later when I was in grad school playing slo-pitch. I took a line drive to the throat and ended up in the emergency room. I must note that the only reason I was playing slo-pitch is that there was a three-women-on-the-field rule, and the economics department was short on women. In an ironic, “even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while” moment, the one and only time I caught a ball in my two years of playing was on a third out during the championship game, which we subsequently won. Fortunately it was a third out, as I throw the ball almost as poorly as I catch it, and I would have had no idea who to throw it to.

I once read an article that hypothesized that people choose their partners, in part, because of traits they themselves do not possess in order to pass those traits down to their children. This may be true. I know that when I discovered my husband was the recipient of the ParticipAction Award of Excellence, I practically ripped my clothes off to procreate right there, I who only ever garnered the “Participant” stickers, I who developed mysterious “illnesses” on track and field day. I’m really hoping that his athletic genes, not mine, were the ones passed along to our children. But so far, the boys are way ahead of me in that department, so I’m pretty optimistic about it.

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