Saturday, March 14, 2009

i'm never trying something new again

this winter has not been kind to many of us, and a few months ago i found myself feeling lethargic, and ugly, and pasty, and fat. and a little unloved, but i really couldn't blame anyone for that. so i took some tennis lessons with my friend tris. turns out i was better (just barely) than two of the four people in the class, and started feeling a little less icky. so when my friend stephanie asked me to be a substitute one night for her in her basketball leauge of women over forty, i thought hey, why not? i'm only 38. i will kick some old lady ass! i played basketball in eigth grade, and that was only twenty four years ago. i'm okay at tennis, and i remember last summer i was shooting some baskets in my friend's driveway, and i made a few. no problem, bring it on! the team leader, linda, calls me and lets me know the details. show up, she'll give me a shirt, play a little. no big deal, it's all just for fun, no one gets too serious. be there at 6:45. i can do that. wednesday night, 5:00, i think it's a good idea to eat a huge hamburger and salad. delicious. wednesday night, 6:30, huge snowstorm, i wear 18 shirts and a huge coat and boots to the gym. 6:45. i walk in, lots of women playing basketball, more than one game going on. looks kind of serious. plus i don't know ANYONE. starting to feel a little sick. linda finds me, underneath the scarf wrapped around my head, gives me a friendly pat on the shoulder, and hands me my shirt wrapped in plastic and points to the locker room. it takes a while to unwrap myself, and then i get to the shirt. it is 1980's neon green, and is a size XXL. my shorts have a five inch inseam, but the shirt is longer. i now look ready to eat popcorn and watch a movie in bed. (if i were five and wearing my dad's shirt and if he were tall and fat.) the sleeves hang far below my elbows. trudging out to the court, my hamburger reminds me of itself. our neon green team shoots around for five minutes, if you call six women and two balls and myself standing awkwardly near the free throw line touching my face neurotically and rearranging my ponytail shooting around. because i am the new girl, i don't have to start. i watch for a few minutes, doesn't look too hard. then. i run up and down the court a few times, someone passes the ball to me, this is my chance. have i mentioned the other team yet? HUGE WOMEN. MEAN HUGE WOMEN. some of them are wearing a grille. in their mouth. the woman i was gaurding was number 17, and the 1 of the 17 was made out of duct tape. the seven was written in with a sharpie. have you ever played pinball? do you know that sound the silver ball makes when it hits something? those girls made me that silver ball, and i heard that sound. again and again. sixty seconds into my game, i lunged for the pass, came up miles short, and catupaulted into the groin of (well, i don't know who, because at that point my face was purple and i could not breathe and i was gagging uncontrollably). the referee stopped the play and everyone wondered if i would like to go to the hospital. i kind of did want to, but i said no. i did sit down for a bit, and because my team had no other choice, i went back in. my team got the ball, and i was open, and i also could see the girl with the ball looking, looking, looking for someone else to throw it to. nope. had to be me. i caught the ball, and threw it up toward the basket. beautiful. i mean ugly. i am certain that i even grunted. loudly. the ball landed three feet short of the basket and hit someone's foot and careened out of bounds. back to the folding chairs. the game ended and my team lost by about three thousand points, even though they had been previously undefeated. it was my fault, and no one would even look at me, again standing awkwardly near them touching my face and acting a little autistic. by now, i never wanted to see another hamburger. i changed back into my snowmobile suit, and limped out without a goodbye, totally humiliated. the next day, stephanie, who i was originally subbing for, forwarded me a message from linda to stephanie. "thanks for having tina play with us last night, do you think you could get the shirt back from her? um, washed?" you can have your nightgown back, linda, i'm sticking to tennis.


  1. what a great story - glad i fouind your blog

  2. Dude. I have a million memories a lot like that, having never practiced a whole lot of anything sports-wise. BUT! If you want to do it, the trick is to find your level. Meet some gals who just want to learn the game (whatever game it is) and have fun. Then, the next time you sub for someone, you know what to expect from yourself.

  3. ha! i so feel you on that. brave of you to give it a shot, though...

  4. I snort, giggle laughed four times while reading this. You get an a for effort and at least you didn't bleed or throw up!