Friday, January 28, 2011

This Post is Not About Hallmark

I feel like, for the sake of being funny, I've been over exaggerating my feelings about sports and athletics. It's true that I'm not often passionate about playing or watching sports, but I do enjoy the community feeling that comes from watching a football game or being on a ward basketball team. I actually played on my church basketball team for about 5 years when I was a teenager and I loved it. I got to be pretty good too. I like when people around me are passionate about a team or a game and -- admittedly -- it's kinda contagious.

Also, recently I've been assigned to be the UPM on a TV show that is exclusively about college sports. I'm really excited to learn more about sports and have those long, obnoxious conversations about trading players and making it to the "sweet 16" (I know what that is!!).

Anyway... I guess that's just kind of a disclaimer.

So... I wrote this kinda long post about how I used to work at Hallmark and it was not fun and everyone hated me and I was fired because I skipped work to go to a track meet.

Then I realized that I could tell that whole story in one sentence (see above) and making it longer only made it boring.

Instead, I've decided to tell you a little bit about my experiences as a track and field superstahhh.

My senior year in high school was my little brother's freshman year. We were at the same school and it was fun to see him periodically. He ran cross country for a season, then started prepping for track and field. He told me that I should join the track team because it would make me tan and skinny and super hot for prom. Maybe he didn't say all those words, but that's what I heard mostly.

So I was like, "LOL sure!"

Before the season even started, little brother decided that he didn't want to do track, but I decided that getting fit was still probably a good idea. Even if Zac wasn't going to join me. I was ready. How hard could it be to be sporty? psh.

I showed up to my first track practice wearing Sketchers or something with black socks I had to fold over lots of times to make them look like they were ankle socks. They were not. My t-shirt looked ok (minus the fact that I didn't own a proper sports bra), but my shorts were probably khaki or courderoy or something tardy. I looked like a major dork.

Nonetheless, I jumped in to whatever they were doing and got to work.

After my very first track practice, I was completely exhausted. Beyond exhausted. My body was furious. After 16 years of complete inactivity I was putting it through outdoor track conditioning in Florida. Everything hurt. I was 98% sure I was going to die. Additionally, my muscles must have stolen some strength from my brain to keep them from dying so I was kinda loopy as well. Well... loopy? Understatement... Its the closest I've ever come to being stoned. I stumbled into my house mumbling incoherently. I couldn't walk properly, I couldn't speak properly and I'm pretty sure I was shivering.

Once inside, I wanted pudding like the earth was going to cease to exist if I didn't have it immediately. So I went to the fridge, got a pudding and a spoon and collapsed on the floor. I enjoyed my pudding from the floor as my little brother tried to have a conversation with me. He gave up and decided to make a video of me instead. This video has infamously become known as the "Hold my spoon" video.

Track was hard. We did a lot of running. A LOT of running. Running + Asia = sadface, but I figured I was building character and I eventually came to enjoy it as part of the adventure. We also jumped and squatted and lunged and climbed. I was by far the slowest member of the team. By far. Did I mention that this was my senior year? and I had never done anything athletic prior to this? The cool part was, though, that no one cared about how slow I was. They only cared if I gave up. We were all the same as long as we finished. It was kinda wonderful.

I also discovered it wasn't just because I was out of shape. At one point, the girls were doing stadiums and I was behind them all like a slow fat kid, and my coach pointed out that my breathing was not normal and I probably had exercise-induced asthma (AKA athletic asthma).

Shucks. Athletic asthma. How can I go on? I've been able to cope with this inhibition over the years by running less and using it as an excuse to stop playing basketball when I feel like I'm going to throw up.

One day at track practice, we took a little tour of all the different events. We saw shotput and long jump. We looked at pole vaulting and hurdles. Then we looked at the high jump. Everyone got a chance to try jumping over the pole. Some people made it over. Some people didn't.

I did.

I decided to cherish the moment and monopolize on my one sporty ability. I could jump over the dang pole. I had found my sporty calling in life.

Don't get your hopes up, though. I could clear the pole at track practice, but that didn't mean I could jump very high. In order to even compete in a meet for high jump, you had to be able to jump 4'4". It went up by 2" from there. It got to be VERY high. The highest I ever was able to jump during my time on the Mandarin High track team was 4'6". That meant I lasted 2 rounds generally.

Quite the athlete.

I'll have you know, though, that when prom came around, I did look tan and fit. And running track was one of the best learning experiences of my life. Mostly I learned that I could be on the track team and not die. Barely.

I know I know... my dress isn't properly modest for the Mormon girl I claim to be. You can see my shoulders. But this is about as rebellious as I got in high school so chalk it up to teenage experience.

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