Graceless under Pressure

I’ve always had more energy that accuracy. It’s why I was a runner and not a gymnast, even when it was clear from early on that I wouldn’t be breaking any height records. I was athletic, but I couldn’t put together enough coordination to play any of the sports involving dexterity or bats, balls or sticks.

Between my junior and senior year in high school, I found myself in summer school for gym. Yes, there is such a thing. I was there because I had taken too many academic courses and hadn’t used enough electives to meet the gym requirement. I guess I could have used my three years of lettering in track to get an exception, but even then I wanted to follow the rules. So, I signed up for gym in summer school.

The people who take gym in summer school are an interesting bunch. Very few enjoy athletic activity and even fewer make attendance at school a regular habit. As an athlete, I regularly lapped people doing the required mile warm-up run, and I hated the mile and wasn’t even trying. On sheer physical fitness I had 99.9% of the group beat, but unfortunately for me it wasn’t just about being in shape. We also played sports.

With balls. And sticks. And racquets.

I remember, because it was a painful, pitiful experience. I wish I had had the sense of humor then that I have now about it, but then I was just resigned. Resigned to being picked last for teams, including behind a girl with a broken arm. Resigned to being the fastest to the ball, but the most incompetent when it came to fielding, throwing or hitting. Resigned to being the designated runner, which at least was useful.

I was reminded of my own gracelessness over the weekend. We got home from dinner and I came barreling out of the car, hell bent on getting into the house quickly. I ran around the car, quick powerful strides and then, *boom* I ran straight into the car door my son had just opened. The force of the hit threw me backwards and I landed on my butt on top of the snowblower.

“Damn IT!”

I popped up and continued in the house without another word. It was stupid and graceless, but so incredibly me that I couldn’t even be upset. It’s not the first time my over-energized self has run into a car door, a minivan hatch, a door jam or a desk edge. I’m just not the kind of person who slows down long enough to avoid objects in my way. And I’m not Barry Sanders, I can’t zig out of the way, either.

That’s okay. In addition to running, I bruise really well, too.

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Middle-aged business exec who had aspirations of being a writer someday. I believe that lifting people up through authentic and vulnerable storytelling creates connection and possibility. My story may not be the most inspiring, but it is the one I know the best and have the right to share.

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