Just before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, I posted a blog about my ineptitude at winter sports.
Now it is less than a week to the start of the SummerOlympics which are being hosted by London this year.
So, I've decided to share a bit about my ineptitude for summer sports as well!
Although there are many visually impaired athletes in this world, my limited vision was a major factor against me when it came to sports. it wasn't my only obstacle to athletic prowess though as I'm just plain uncoordinated! I was never graced with an athletic body.
As a kid, I never enjoyed phys ed classes or organized sports. I never had the strength or the stamina to fully participate. I hated having to run laps either in the gym or around the school grounds. I found that no matter how hard I tried - and I DID try - doing sit-ups, push-ups and other physical activities was an exhausting effort of futility. I stumbled my way through years of classes with final grades of D. I only passed Grade 10 phys ed because at the end of the year, the teacher had me redo the written tests for various sports that we learned through that year. Even she recognized that I couldn't do most of the stuff in class!
I hated school sports days where everyone was expected to participate regardless of ability. I never managed a decent high jump or long jump. I couldn't do hurdles without tripping. Relay races terrified me as I knew I'd have trouble receiving and handing over the baton.
That pretty much eliminated any of the Track and Field events!
Team sports were just as bad for me. Thanks to my lack of coordination and agility, I was almost always the last to be picked and was only sent in as a last resort! I couldn't see well enough to follow the ball for Baseball. I could barely dribble the Basketball - let alone make a basket! I couldn't run fast enough to keep up in Soccer or Field Hockey!
There was a brief shining moment in Junior High Intramural Sports that I could almost play Volleyball. Due to few players showing up, I was put in the game and though I couldn't hit a ball in action, I was able to do a decent serve. The team tried to only bring me in long enough to serve, then switch me out with another player. That only worked for a handful of games until they were reminded of a rule that a player had to be in for a full round of positions before being taken out. Oh well!
Fencing, Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Taekwondo? Let's see ... requires coordination, agility and strength. Nope!
We never had Tennis at our school, but we did have Badminton. Growing up, I was also exposed to Table Tennis. Needless to say, these weren't my sports either! Shooting certainly wasn't on my radar as I've never wanted to handle a gun. The few times that we had Archery in phys ed? Hitting the target was a bit of a challenge! I recall hitting the hay bales behind the targets more than anything!
Equestrian events can be exciting to watch as the horse and rider move as one to complete the course but I was only on a horse a couple of times in my youth and frankly did not enjoy the movement. I didn't mind being in a horse drawn carriage/wagon, but actually riding a horse either with a saddle or bareback was not for me either!
Water sports can offer a lot of variety. Sadly, I've never been much of a water person. I could paddle a Canoe back in my summer camp days - but only on calm waters! I've never been in a Kayak or tried Sailing but neither appeals to me.
I took swimming lessons when I was a kid but never passed the first level. I couldn't swim under water and was terrified to open my eyes under water! I did learn to do a dead man's float and a life guard at the summer camp I worked at taught me to do a dog paddle but I couldn't go more than about 20 feet! Treading water wasn't one of my finer accomplishments either! I'm not good with heights so never really tried Diving.
So much for Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Diving, Sailing, Rowing, Canoeing, Kayak and Water Polo!!
How about Cycling, you may ask? Well, to be perfectly honest - I never learned to ride a bike till I was about 10. I had a tricycle when I was little but when I tried using a two wheeler, I just couldn't get the balance! I don't recall if I ever had training wheels but I do remember my dad running along behind or beside me helping me stay up. I finally got the hang of it a few years later. That being said, I enjoyed leisurely rides but was never interested in competing even for fun.
That pretty much left Gymnastics.
With the vault, it seemed that I could do a decent mount or dismount but rarely both in the same attempt. I managed a few simple moves but never made it past the basics. One time, I had really worked on a routine and had it darn near perfected - until the teacher was judging and I fell and sprained my ankle! She gave me the marks though as she had observed me do it in practice and knew I had done it well before!
For some reason the uneven parallel bars only half terrified me. I didn't like anything that turned me upside down and my dismounts were a hit or miss - mostly miss! But there were several of the basic moves that I could do semi decently! I never did figure that one out!
I was petrified anytime I had to do the balance beam in phys ed! Even with spotters and extra mats I couldn't stay on that narrow beam! My movements in floor exercises were anything but graceful as I had to stop and regain my equilibrium between many of the moves!
Luckily, we never had Rhythmic Gymnastics back when I was a kid! It is beautiful to watch but way beyond anything I could ever have done!
Yup, Summer Sports ain't my thing either! I'll stick to doing my daily workouts in the privacy of my own home and going for casual walks.
I admire those who have athletic capabilities regardless of whether they participate for fun or for competition.
The athletes make it look so easy even though I know that they have devoted countless hours and made untold sacrifices to reach the levels of Olympic competition. The dedication and determination to challenge their abilities and compete to be the best in their sport is both admirable and inspiring!
Even though I am not a sports fan, I will be watching at least some of the games over the next couple of weeks - if only to admire the sheer athleticism and determination of our athletes!