I am really not an athletic person. I am a competitive person, but I am not really good at sports. I am not sure why. Maybe it is genetic. My great-grandfather was a professional runner in England, like the Chariot's of Fire guy, but it didn't get passed down to me. Maybe it is because I didn't start sports early enough. I did gymnastics for a year when I was 4 and ballet for a few years. My first introduction to group sports was softball. We practiced at Oak Park on 12th Street in Cuyahoga Falls. I don't remember much except that we were really bad. I am sure it had nothing to do with our coach who came to practice in her bedroom slippers and pretty much just stood there with a whistle and clipboard. In 4th grade I joined the soccer team. I was actually halfway decent. Who knew? The thing about girls soccer in the early 80's was if you weren't afraid of the ball and were even slightly aggressive you were already heads above the others. I played through the 7th grade and then decided my calling was to be a cheerleader. Not sure who I was kidding. While I had the loud part down, my acrobatic skills were less than desirable And even more detrimental to my career was my hair. No matter how many perms I got my straight slick hair would not achieve the height that was needed to look like one of the team. No offense to my cheerleader friends but ya'll have to admit the cheer squad did have the biggest hair in the school. But, being at the small Christian school they didn't have too many options so I made the squad for one season. Didn't last long though. A girl who could actually do a cartwheel knocked me out the next year. I had a decision to make. Should I go back to soccer, or give up my athletic career. I made my decision based on a very important thing. Boys. Soccer definitely had the boys that I found hot. Soccer players had "Bono' mullets not "The Boz' mullets that the football players had. In the 80's you really didn't have a no mullet option you know. So soccer it was. And it was a good decision. I had quite a few more years in me and when I moved to Tennessee soccer helped me develop some really good friendships. A couple of us girls even made a statement by trying out for the boys team at Tennessee High because they didn't have a girls team. Didn't make the team, but they did get another girls sport the next year. Unfortunately it was softball. Thank goodness the coach actually wore shoes.
I don't think kids today get the same experience out of sports that most of us did. Kids can join a sports team at age 4. They can move to competitive "traveling" teams when they are like 6. They practice 5 or 6 times a week. Some kids love this and I think that is fine, but I think a lot of kids get left behind and by the time middle school comes around the competition is just too great so they don't get to play. I am pretty sure I wouldn't make the team if I was a kid now. I just wasn't that committed.
I cherish my soccer memories and my soccer friends. Some of these players were actually really good and I think some still play today. The rest of us were just in it for the fun, and fun it definitely was.
And here is the gymnastics picture. I love that my white underpants are hanging out of my leotard. What do you bet they make thongs for 4 year olds now so that doesn't happen.