This morning I was outside, high up on a wobbly ladder I had no business being on, armed with paper towels and Windex. While cleaning windows I found myself repeating the Karate Kid mantra; wax on, wax off, over and over. And over and over. When I realized I was doing this, it was time to think of something else... and fast.
The way my brain works I made the .007 second switch to Karate-sports-soccer-kids playing soccer-parent coached soccer- going to the meeting for one of my kids soccer teams where they were asking for parent coaches- and finally, when the 30-something athletic, jock in school and went to college on a sports scholarship Dad started to belittle the parents and get more than a little snarky because none of the Moms (and a couple Dads) who were sitting in the shelter house at the park, trying to balance babies on our hips with a toddler running around our feet eating rocks... would raise their hands and commit to coach.
All that in .007 seconds. I kid you not. Ok. So that is what I decided to ramble on a little bit over morning coffee about.
The thought that ran through my head was; "People that love sports can't understand the concept of someone who honestly, truly, doesn't like, care about, nor understand sports."
To my credit, I did excel in a sport once. In elementary school from 1st grade through 6th grade, I was one of the fastest kids in my class; boys or girls. By 7th grade I was the 2nd fastest girl in the class, and 4th fastest overall. But that's it. That's the end of my athletic ability. I hated running. I think I was fast because I wanted to hurry and get it over with so I could sit down on the sidelines with a book. As much as I hated (despised, loathed) physical education class and recess, I loved reading.
"I hated running. I think I was fast because
I wanted to hurry and get it over with so I could
sit down on the sidelines with a book."
I hated school for one reason and one reason only; Physical Education. It was the bane of my high school years. I was great at 'forgetting' my PE clothes and coming up with every excuse possible to miss. I would attend only enough to keep from flunking Phys Ed. I did this by participating in the weeks we did something more in my comfort zone; Archery, Range Shooting (yes, with guns - the Army would come that week and set up a shooting range), bowling, swimming and weight lifting. I was excellent at all of those actually, and would get A+ in those classes so my average grade would then keep me from flunking PE each quarter. I usually ended up with a C.
Fast forward about 17 years to the aforementioned 'meeting' held in a shelter house at the park after our kid's 6th grade soccer practice. Where Mr. Athletic was calling on parents to be the coach of the team. I offered help in ways I did have talent; scheduling, administration, forms, a website for the team and parents, calling parents, after practice snacks... and he insisted I should coach the team.
I don't know the first thing about soccer. Yes I've watched my kids play. I know the ultimate goal is to get the little ball in net at the end of the field. That's it. That's the extent of my knowledge, even with 3 kids playing. I love watching my kids play. Love seeing them participate and learn new skills and love the game. I see the coaches telling them when they have to stand outside line to throw a ball in. Sometimes they had to kick it in. Sometimes they would meet in the center of the field and kick it. Coaches would blow whistles when they saw someone breaking a rule. I had no idea what that rule might be... and I didn't care.
I did not care.
If you try to explain the rules of soccer (or basketball or hockey or even NFL football, much to my husbands dismay) my eyes will start to glaze over. I'll nod and I'll try to follow you... I really will. But because I don't even care about the game or sports in general even one little iota, I simply cannot focus my brain on learning it.
Mr. Athletic Dad was not happy. But to his credit...he couldn't understand. He did finally get 2 parents to coach (a woman offered up her husband to be the coach and after, another woman offered to co-coach as she had played a little soccer years ago.)
What that Dad couldn't comprehend was I can't coach a team of kids when I have no clue as to how the game is actually played and have no interest in it in the slightest.
Now, if he had asked for someone to teach the kids Medieval English Literature? I'm your girl! History? Sign me up! Need someone to 'coach' them in cooking, baking or sewing? Alright! Now let's talk!
But what if I had turned the table on Mr. Athletic Dad? What if it were me standing up there asking him to teach our 6th grade kids Medieval English Romance?
He would shake his head, chuckle and say "No... " with a laugh. "You don't want me teaching that. I don't know ANYTHING about English literature! Much less Mid... uh, whatever you said. Medieval. Yeah. I don't know anything about Medieval English Romance!"
"Come on! It's EASY. It was the most important form of secular English literature in the Middle Ages! How can you not know that!? From 1225 through 1500 it was their own 'contemporary' modern fiction. Come on. I will give you a sheet of paper with some of the basic information and a list of authors to cover. I'm sure the other people teaching and coaching the other teams of kids won't mind if you get a few facts wrong. You'll learn!"
I find learning and reading to be interesting, exciting, fascinating! He finds the same with sports.
While he may not have any interest in English Literature or History... I had no interest in sports. That zero interest makes it very, very difficult for me to learn the rules of a game because again... I. Do. Not. Care.
In the end, I didn't have to coach, obviously. And my husband (even working around 60 hour work weeks) found time to team-coach our son's football team for 2 years and soccer for 1 year. But me?
If you need administrative help, sign me up.
Forms, websites, snacks and first aid? I'm your girl.
Posters? Artistic talent? Marketing? Yes! I'll do it all!
But handing me a whistle and putting me in the center of a field of kids where the average athletic 4 year old has more working knowledge of the game than I do? You don't want to do that.