November 14, 2006

growing up girl

The thing is, I'm basically a homebody who would rather sit--or lie--in front of my laptop doing what I love to do making pixel-words on the screen, or maybe taking a drive to the store with Jenna, going to a movie, or going watch George play. The point is, I opt to do pretty much anything in place of that painful physical stuff better known as exercise.

I love going to the Y to swim. I love it more once I'm there. Other than that, though, I'll skip if given half the chance.

Except when you put a ball in front of me.

Doesn't matter if it's a football, kickball, soccer ball, or volleyball -- if there's a ball and someone who wants to beat me by doing something with that ball that I'm supposed to prevent, then I. Am. On. The. Case.

(You notice I didn't include golf. Golf doesn't count. I do mano a mano.)

Blame my brother for my obnoxiously competitive spirit. Seven years older than me in a home without a dad, he was my sports mentor. Or maybe the point is, I was his only teammate, and although it happened that I was a girl, that could not change anything about the game at hand--especially the game of football. If I got the wind knocked out of me, he added  padding. If my nose bled too often, he'd put a helmet on my head. He taught me the plays of the day, drawing them on his palm--and if I didn't understand, drawing them on mine--like a fortune teller. I knew them all--from the statue of liberty play to the flea flicker, to the Hail Mary.

He had no qualms about sending this girl to do a man's job. And I did it. And if it hurt too bad, I asked him to stuff some pillows up my shirt so it would hurt less. And he would.

Getting back to that physical sacrifice is crucial for me.

It's a going home of sorts, a way of thanking my brother for playing with me, for suffering my gender on the field, for knocking me into the boards at the hockey rink just the same, for believing in me enough to sail a spiral into my waiting hands.

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