Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Brief Personal History of Organized Sports Part 1: Karate

For the first time in years, I have entered a sports league. It isn't that I have anything against organized sports, per se, it's simply that, in a long and sordid history with them, I've never been any good. Don't get me wrong, I love playing games. Street hockey and backyard baseball were awesome growing up, and if you challenged me to a game of croquette or beach volleyball, I'd be all over that. Once something gets organized, it generally went down hill for me. They say that what's most important about sports is having fun. This statement was probably made by someone like Babe Ruth or Harry Potter, or someone else that never lost at their selected sport. Winning is fun, no one can argue against that. Over the span of my life, I've rarely won at organized sports. I think it might be easiest if I break this post up into the different sport's I've attempted.

I distinctly remember my first attempt at “organized” karate. Having grown up with an Okinawan grandmother, I figured I was a shoe-in for karate. At 5 ½ My mother enrolled 3 older siblings and myself in a karate studio (dojo?) It was awesome. Despite the teacher (master?) yelling incomprehensible things to an inattentive 5 year old, I was having a blast. I was determined to kick the hardest and to run the fastest. My dreams were quickly shattered. The downward spiral probably began with my attempt to become a yellow belt. I loved my karate uniform (Gi?) But I noticed that the only people that had a white belt were people that had enrolled after me.
Decidedly, I needed some color in my awesome ninja attire. The problem was, this required me to memorize a routine that was decidedly more difficult than actions like “kick” or “yell High YA!” There was a loophole, one that I had every intention to exploit. You did your routine, side by side with two other students. I strategically took my place in between the two others and used what I assumed to be my peripheral vision, but turned out to just be full head turns instead, to watch and follow their every move to the T. After a grueling 2 ½ minutes the routine was over. I was singled out by our master(?). Like I said before, I didn't comprehend much of what he said (not because he had a heavy asian accent or anything, he was about as white as they got.) I was hopeful, but I did not receive my yellow belt.

Shortly after this incident came the one that ended my career in karate. In the midst of doing exercises that had nothing to do with breaking bricks with our fists or walking on glass, my body had decided that enough was enough. As I stared into the confused face of my training partner, I unloaded the contents of my guts right there on the floor. I left that building crying in the arms of my mother, never to return again.

This was one of my first, but certainly not last attempts at succeeding in organized sports. The longest bought came in the form of baseball, a sport loved by my entire family, of which I had little skill in, even after roughly 6 years of playing.

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