The trouble with flying spherical objects

From Joanie:
I am not, by nature, what one would consider an “athlete.”
I can’t claim this designation despite years of competitive gymnastics, competitive swimming, competitive diving, and that one year that I ran cross country because I liked a boy on the team. I can’t even call that year “competitive” because my feeble attempt at running was so very sad.
I can’t even claim the designation with my regular yoga practice, extreme hiking, occasional forays into sailing and kayaking, or the dancing I am occasionally forced to do in musicals where I thought I was hired just for my high notes.
No, because from an early age, we are taught to associate athleticism not with skill or physical fitness but rather with one’s ability to successfully throw, catch, and hit flying spherical objects.
Balls.
[Author’s note: the above comment can refer to the flying spherical object or to my use of the word as an expletive and referring to a male’s genitalia. We at Cure for the Common Crazy apologize for our crassness. Although, it’s {expletive deleted} funny, isn’t it?]
There were many painful experiences in my youth with these flying spherical objects, which have led me to believe two things:
  1.        I might have some kind of depth perception problem with my vision.
  2.       One’s acumen as the spherical object hurtles to one’s face is directly proportional to the amount of time one spends crying and writing poetry.

Dear readers, as you might assume, I spent A LOT of time crying and writing poetry.
As I quickly figured out, the learning curve for flying spherical objects was not going to be an easy one for me. Or a possible one (see point 1 about depth perception).
So I did the next best thing.
Avoided flying spherical objects at all possible costs.
This made gym class feel a bit like I was in Vietnam in the early 70s.
Perhaps the most terrifying “game” of my time at war with flying spherical objects was Dodgeball, a game I am still convinced is a Darwinian experiment to weed out the frightened creative types and allow the near-Neandrathals to have a few shining moments before their life of drudgery and manual labor begins.
My strategy for this game was to hide behind the fat kids. This only lasted for so long, as they were easy targets. But by the time all the fat kids were out, the kids who actively tried had mostly knocked each other out. It was at this point that I could pretend I was hit, and shuffle off to the side, unnoticed by the gym teachers.
There was one fateful day in P.E. where my strategy failed. I stayed on the court too long, and by some complete accident, remained when the other team knocked out the remaining five players of mine.
And there I was, like the gunslinger from the Dark Tower series, facing off to many enemies, with all the spherical objects laying at my feet. Unlike the gunslinger, I did not have the advantage of firearms, as this was a public school in the 1990s.
So I spoke to the near-Neandrathals in slow, loud words:
“I AM GOING TO ROLL YOU A BALL. PLEASE TOSS IT UNDERHAND TO HIT ME AS I HAVE NO INTEREST IN PLAYING THIS GAME.”
And so I did.
And the biggest one of them all, who may actually have been a Neandrathal, picked it up and pelted it at me with comic book level force.
I dodged it, because, hey, that’s how the game is played, right?
And then I discovered a new kind of flying spherical object: words.
“WHAT PART OF UNDERHAND DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND, YOU COMPLETE MORON? I JUST WANTED TO GET THIS GAME OVER WITH, AND YOU FEEL IT NECESSARY TO HIT A LITTLE GIRL AS HARD AS YOU CAN? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? GET OFF THIS COURT. GET OF THIS COURT, RIGHT NOW.”
And he did.
“ANYONE ELSE NOT WANT TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS?”
Silence.
“AND NOT A WORD OUT OF YOU!”
That last one was hurled at the gym teacher, whose mouth hung open, amazed.
This time I rolled a ball to one of the players, who came within 2 feet of me, and gently tossed it over.
I was out.
But I’d won the game. And I’d defeated the idea that flying spherical objects had any power over us.
Well, except for the new ones I’d discovered. Flying spherical objects, indeed.

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