Tera has signed us up for a kickball league under the notion that it would be fun, friendly and non-competitive. Tera has almost no experience with team sports and my limited (mostly childhood) exposure taught me that people in large groups want to win so bad they will suck the fun out of simply watching sports. Neither of us is at all strong in any activity that requires catching, throwing and kicking. Example: We both played soccer as kindergarteners. She chased butterflies and I ran around with my hands in my pockets. Tera’s most memorable team sport experience was picking out the flowered fabric pattern to sew into her shin guards. I played other sports like tee ball where I was more interested in discussing cartoons with the shortstop. Basketball? Do you know how embarrassing it is at 11 years old to air ball a free throw? I still remember how many baskets I scored that first season. Two.
Kickball is a sport perfect for the athletic team underachievers, those who either didn’t satisfy their competitive thirst as a youth or were simply so bad that they didn’t fit in on any team (read: me). This was why Tera was mildly disappointed after our first day of practice when she realized that although the people on our team say it’s all for fun they really want to win. They discussed strategy and positions and mentioned that they didn’t want to suck as much as they did last season.
Our first game was today (fyi, we won) and we realized how long it’s been since we were in a competitive environment. We never back down from a challenge yet our competitive aggressions were left in 1997 on the motocross tracks and swimming pools of our youth. After 13 years of competing at a national level, I stopped, went to college and recently realized that it’s been 13 years since I left MX. My mountain bike friends have been asking me for years to enter races with them and I’ve always refused because I never wanted mountain biking to become competitive. Somehow, a few days ago, my friend Patrick got me to cave. I think it was his use of the phrase “It will be fun.” So, this weekend I’m racing the Black Bear Rampage in Tennessee. It’s a 40 mile cross country race and I’ve never ridden more than 20 miles in one day. I have one speed, “go”, and no idea how to pace myself. And I just know, I can almost bet on it, that I will want to immediately repass the first person who overtakes me on the trail. I should just set a goal to finish. Otherwise, it’s going to be ugly.
The next kickball game is Tuesday, Sept. 14. Hopefully that official adult kickball we ordered will arrive before then so we can work on our kicking and catching. We need to practice. We’re undefeated, you know.