I Can’t Throw: An Update on Last Year’s New Year Resolution February 17, 2015

So if you follow my blog, you may recall that last year my resolution was to learn how to throw. Better late than never, right?

Spoiler alert: I still can’t throw.

Well, I take that back. I think my throwing motion has probably improved, but I really haven’t gotten to test it out much. Let’s just say that I haven’t been lining up to join any dodgeball tournaments lately, and I won’t be joining that spring softball league. Because not only can I not throw, but I have a huge fear of getting hit by balls, and I can’t bat either. So basically I’m the total package.

So the biggest impetus for learning to throw was because it was affecting my tennis serve. I needed to get that right “snapping” motion in order to get the most power. This was a huge hole in my game, and I was tired of opponents asking me how my shoulder surgery went. (This was of course a big rumor, and after a while I just decided to go with it and not correct anyone. I had already told people I was a big spaz and couldn’t throw, but for some reason they didn’t believe me and preferred to think I had a bum shoulder. Go figure.)

And so I took service lessons.

Now without the actual tennis ball, my service motion looked incredible. I practiced and practiced that motion and it looked beautiful. But put a tennis ball in my hand and ask me to now use that same motion while hitting the ball…well, it all fell to shit. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t combine the motion with the ball toss and put everything together. So now I’m back to my old reliable-yet-crappy serve. (I’m wondering what my next move should be: hypnotist, maybe? Obviously my problem is mental, right?)

But rather than focus on this sporting failure – which I’m pretty much used to – I will instead look back at those few shining moments of athletic glory in my younger life. They are, in no particular order:

  • Dart Goddess. Thanks to the questionable “dart unit” in high school gym class, I discovered that although I could not throw any type of ball, I could definitely throw small spears. And I could throw them well. Thanks to this tutelage and the dart machine in my college boyfriend’s house, I was a force to be reckoned with at the college bars.
  • Badminton Bad-Ass. Another one of the few gym units I excelled at, probably because I was hitting something over a net and there were no balls involved. Also, the one time I actually needed a shower after gym class.
  • Archery Annie. Apparently I am better with sharp objects. I once shot a perfect bulls-eye as all my fellow classmates watched. Suck it, basketball players!
  • Star Shooter. I can’t play basketball worth shit, but I can shoot. I once scored six points in a row in a gym class basketball game, which was enough for an opponent to yell at his teammates: “Get on her!” I was actually a threat. Now this was something new. I’ve been a threat at a lot of things in my life. Power shopping. Wheel of Fortune. Scrabble. Jeopardy. Rock Paper Scissors. Most naps in a day. Caddyshack and Sixteen Candles trivia. But a basketball threat? Now that was hilarious.
  • Dancing Diva. Dancing is not technically a sport, but then again darts weren’t either. But since they were both gym class units and involved physical skill, I’m counting them. The only time I got an ‘A’ in gym.
  • Jumping Jehosaphat. (I’m not quite sure what a Jehosaphat is, but anything that Yosemite Sam says is alright by me.) I’m also pretty sure I hold the jump roping and Double Dutch record at Lourdes grade school. And it was pretty cutthroat; beware little girls in jumpers who are bad rope twirlers and try to make you miss.

Thank goodness I learned to play two lifetime sports: golf and tennis. Because unlike a lot of people, my best athletic years are NOW (and even yet to come) – not when I was sixteen years old. And for that I am thankful.


Sport Flirting with Twentysomethings February 3, 2015

I’ve come to realize that I’ve only got a certain number of years before I’ll start to feel ridiculous going to dance clubs. The same can be said of the time I have left for flirting with guys much younger than I. Sure, I’m married and I love my husband very much (we are celebrating ten years this week – yay us!) but eventually I think it’s only natural to want attention from someone other than your partner. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice compliment, especially from someone much younger than you?  If you have no craving for that ever…well, I really don’t understand you at all, and you are probably lying to yourself. On the other hand, if you know what I mean, then by all means come sit by me and we’ll go shamelessly flirt with twentysomethings* for the sport of it. After all, we are still experienced, hot older chicks who don’t look nearly as old as we are. Let’s embrace this sweet time before we turn into totally inappropriate horny cougars that everyone just likes to humor.

I take you back to such an opportunity, two Octobers ago. I was out and about with my college friends visiting our alma mater during Homecoming weekend.  Our first stop was at our favorite bar called “The Abbey”. Now back in our day (ugh did I really say ‘our day’?), this bar was really quite small and divey, which naturally made us love it even more.  But years later, thanks to some land negotiations with the college and some new money, our beloved dive bar was torn down and rebuilt into this shiny new sports bar down the street. Come to think of it, most of the really trashy party houses are gone now too. Sigh. Progress can really suck, AmIRight? Now the new bar is very nice, mind you, however I still find myself very nostalgic for the old familiar place where I could ask Carol what she’s got in the deep fryer. And then I could drink until midnight before hobbling down the street to the dance club and shuttin’ ‘er down.  (That would be both my shutting the place down at 2:15 a.m.ish, AND shuttin’ ‘er down on the dance floor with my dope moves. I was partial to the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage as well as Come Baby Come by K7. Swing batta batta batta batta batta…swing!!)

Ah…good memories.

So there we were, the seasoned alumni, still kind of wondering why we didn’t know too many people any more, even though it’s been nearly twenty years since we graduated. But really, in my mind, 1995 is what? About ten years ago, right? And so we stood around cranking our necks out for anyone who looked vaguely familiar from the mid-nineties.

And then I saw him, standing by the jukebox. Preppy, clean-cut boy wearing a red plaid shirt (Ralph Lauren, perhaps?) He was one of my two types, which happen to be pretty different. One is of course the said preppy look, and the second would be long wavy-haired alternative guy. Either way, they must both dress well.

I decided to make my move.

“I’m going in,” I proclaimed to my girlfriends, pointing out my target.

“Aw, he is adorable!” they all say in unison.

Normally doing something like this when I was twenty would have taken several beers. Now that I’m older and more confident… it still takes several beers. Shit.

Anyway, somehow I manage to strike up a conversation with Red Plaid Shirt, and he starts to tell me what he does for a living. He’s about five minutes into the explanation when I hold my hand out to him and tell him to please stop.

“So you’re a recruiter,” I tell him.

“Yeah! Yeah, that’s it!” he tells me. Wow. I think I just won on Jeopardy!

I try not to shake my head and tell him that I know what a recruiter is, that he didn’t have to launch into a diatribe for me, but clearly junior is pretty darn proud of his very first job, so I’m not going to ruin it for him. I mean it took me at least one year week out of college before I realized that my corporate job was sucking the life out of me. Who was I to blow the surprise for him?

The conversation does not get much easier from there.

Red Plaid Shirt is really into the jukebox, and for some reason he really likes playing bad 90’s, including Mariah Carey. I’m not sure if he’s trying to be ironic or funny or both, but I’m reminded of the dumb (but very hot) fireman that Samantha dated on Sex and the City. From afar, Red Plaid Shirt is fireman hot hot hot. But upon closer inspection, he is dumb, dumb, dumb.

“Isn’t this stuff great?” he exclaims after every song. Apparently he has poured about a kajillion bucks into that jukebox, because every motherchuckin’ song is his. He acts as if he just discovered music gold, much like the stoners in my day who acted like they were the only ones who truly appreciated The Doors. He is trying way too hard to be Ironically Hip Music Boy, and it starts to grate on my nerves. God, can’t I go back to the days when I knew someone would always play Anna Begins by the Counting Crows and I could take a sip of my Miller Lite and just know everything would be okay?

Thankfully my friend came over and joined me, perhaps sensing my distress, or perhaps just wanting to join in on the fun. She quickly picked up on the annoying/dumb vibe and gave me a knowing glance, which, loosely translated, meant: Must. Get. Away. Too. Dumb.

But then he gave us the perfect out.

“You know what?” he told us, acting as if he was letting us in on some big ancient secret. “So my parents told me that when they went to school here, this place used to be called ‘Ye Olde Abbey’. Isn’t that great?”

Friend and I look at each other. That’s what the bar was called when we went to school there.

If there was a mic around, we would have dropped it like we were Eminem in the final battle, Mom’s spaghetti on our sleeves.

“Okay, we’re outta here,” we say in unison.

Besides, if you are going to do old-school ironic, at least choose something actually cool like Come Baby Come by K7.

*Even though the younger men can be nice, don’t misunderstand me – I do not rule out the older gentlemen. Truth be told, when I’m on the treadmill at the Y and I look down onto the pick-up basketball games in the gym, it’s actually the older John Slattery lookalike with the gray chest hair I’m checking out. It’s never the twentysomething with the baggy shorts past his ankles. Because really? Ick.