I had a nightmare last night.  It was the summer and I was working as a summer intern for a district attorney's office in a small town somewhere.  I was involved, for some reason, in the investigation stage of a big drug arrest.  The Berkeley College Republicans had come to town, for some reason, and had all been arrested in a road checkpoint for possessing cocaine, or heroine, or some white powdery illicity substance.  But they had found a group of undocumented immigrant workers and had accused them of hatching a massive conspiracy to set them up.  So everyone involved was down at the local police office, and the detectives and DAs were going through and interviewing people to try and figure out whom they should arrest and charge. 

Also, because there were so many people, we weren't actually in the police station; they were holding everyone in the local high school gym.  So, for whatever reason, it was decided that we should pass the time with a basketball game, divided into the street-smart team versus the book-smart team.  This meant myself and the College Republicans I would (probably) be helping to prosecute against the immigrants and the police officers.  This is where the nightmare comes in.

You see, I suck at sports.  All sports, every sport.  There is no sport, no matter how trivial the skills involved in it, that I can not find a way to suck horribly at.  Basketball is particularly hated, because it seems to involve way too much testosterone, with all the sweatiness and close contact and such.  Also, the ball is big and hard.  I suck so much at sport that people get mad at me.  They tend to assume that nobody could possibly suck as much as I do.  I tend to argue against sportly activities pretty vehemently beforehand, then insist that I don't want to participate when people are picking teams and such.  Thus, people tend to assume, when I suck, that I'm doing some whiney pissant passive-aggressive "if you're gonna make me play, I'm just gonna not try and make everyone miserable" thing.  But no, really, it's true.  When a baseball flies toward me in the outfield, it instantly and irrevocably activates my reptilian "Flight!" instinct, causing me to run away from it or, alternatively, cringe and try to protect my head.  I don't even know how to begin with tennis.  I can't serve, meaning I can't successfully swing and hit the ball on the service, let alone get it properly over the net, so if I'm serving a game it just consists of me standing in the back of a court and periodically hoisting a ball in the air and swinging wildly until I've officially lost.  If my opponent serves, I don't have any ability to read the ball so I just stand there and watch it whiz past me.  I may feebly extend my racket in the general direction, but usually by the time my brain sends a "Go there!" command the ball has already gone out the back of the court.

Basketball is the worst, though.  Some people can't dunk.  Some can't shoot, or pass.  Others have a basic skill set, but are just overmatched by the other players and get dominated on the court.

I can't dribble.  I try and I lose control of the ball after once bounce.  I can't even hope to do any of the other tasks basketball requires.  Plus, basketball seem to involve way more testosterone than other sports.  There's a lot more sweating and yelling and trash talking and physical contact and such, and I'm somewhat deficient in the testosterone department.

So most of my dream was just a parade of basketball-related embarrasments.  For some reason I was made Center, ostensibly because I was so big (this is patently false; I'm 5'10'', which is, I believe, about average, if not a tad short).  The pain seemed to go on forever; "You can't POSSIBLY suck that much!" and "Nobody on Earth sucks as much as you!" and such.  I tried to make baskets and the ball actually arced backwards after leaving my hands.  And this was all just in the practice session with my own team before the game.   Eventually the team mom intervened and took me out.  We had a team mom, for some reason.  She said I was a great center; after all, I was just so tall!


There are times when I hide my head in shame and take advantage of the same stereotypes against which I rail mightily at all other times.

Because (or at least largely because) I'm a girl, the world does not particularly require me to be good at sports. In fact, I am very not good at sports, in much the same way that you are very not good at sports. I tend to cringe away from things flying at me, run slowly and ungracefully, and throw with no aim whatsoever. Your dream does not sound fun.

Then again, when my friends play baseball with tennis balls and plastic bats in the park with the bases set up very close together and no scorekeeping, I play happily (if no less poorly). Context is important.

This reminds me of the time I played softball with a bunch of Stax people some years ago. You were around and clerking at the time, so you might remember. Vaughn organized the whole thing. He had some grand plan for an official Stax softball league. We only played the one game, though.

Anyhow, we got to Condornices Park and Vaughn put the teams together. I insisted, vehemently, that I was not adept at any form of softball. Therefore, I ought to be placed as far away from a position where the team would depend upon me as possible. Nonetheless, thanks to my accursed penis, Vaughn insisted I had to be better than the various girls present, so I was placed on 3rd base. There are many environments where one can play sports without a lot of pressure to perform well. Playing 3rd base in a softball game on Vaughn Grigsby's team is not one of them.

Fortunately, the ball seldom came to me, and our team had Vaughn playing shortstop and Nathaniel playing 1st Base, so they pretty much handled things. That didn't stop me, though, from being thoroughly embarrased on the occasions when someone was coming to 3rd Base. The rule was "Don't throw the ball to Zach, because if you do the runner is going Home."

Also fortunately, we had a shortage of players so the batting team provided the pitcher, so I didn't have to worry about the pitcher trying to kill me. I actually managed to get a few hits that day, which pleased me quite a bit. Still, though, no softball since then, and I'm quite happy about that.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on December 22, 2005 2:16 PM.

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