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I Tried to "Sports" Once. It Was a Fail.

Athleticism escapes me. My husband and his siblings seem to be very adept at almost any sport they try. Even down to archery.

My sisters and I have had our fails aplenty. Charlotte is the one that is most injury-prone. While trying to beat her personal mile run time, she became so dehydrated and overheated that she had to go to the ER. And when she was taking classes to try to get her lifeguarding certification, she hit her head on the pool wall during laps and got a concussion. Back to the ER. She also remembers this: "One of my first varsity volleyball games I was super nervous to try my overhand serve that was still unreliable at the time. I had a terrible toss, but went for it anyway. My hand hit nothing but air and the ball hit my face."


Then there's my sister Sarah. She's tall. (You're welcome, Sarah). While Charlotte and I stand around 5'3", Sarah is 5'9". People assume that means she plays basketball and volleyball. Well, she has. But she'll be the first to say it was a fail. She says, "I won MVP the year my varsity volleyball team didn't win a single game. loser?"

Sarah also emailed me recently with some lovely pictures of her latest games of volleyball -- she's was playing with some work or church friends and took things a little too seriously. "I used to play volleyball in high school and wasn't terrible. So when we had an open gym night at our church, I went and played for about an hour and a half. I don't think I need to explain what happened. I should really stay away from sports."

As for me, I was mostly a cheerleader and that was mostly because I had decent rhythm and flexibility. Not because I was cheery. I attempted volleyball in 7th grade but I suuuuuuuuuuuucked. I really did. I sat the bench. I also had braces and had to wear a mouth guard which, for whatever reason, was bright yellow. That was an interesting choice, past Laura. Anyway, I stuck to cheerleading, reading, and playing the piano until my junior year in HS when our softball team needed more players. I am afraid of flying objects, so catching a softball wasn't high on my list of things to do. In fact, I tended to not catch the ball if we're being honest. I spent most of that semester keeping our books because I'm analytical and good at keeping stats. On the few occasions I had to play and got up to bat, I showed my prowess by achieving the following:

  • Hitting balls directly to the pitcher or short stop so they could catch them
  • Barely tipping a ball that landed in front of me, prompting the catcher to try to grab it to tag me, and therefore tripping over the catcher and knocking her over while I stumbled to first base
  • Tripping/stumbling at first base and falling on my face, and stumbling/crawling to second base with bloody legs
After that experience, I vowed to stay away from such sports, but the next year, my senior year, I decided to play volleyball and redeem myself from my 7th grade fail. I admit that just because my balance and upper body strength had improved I wasn't AS BAD, but I still managed to fail pretty hard. I remember one game in particular where my serve didn't go over -- and that was game point against our rival team. So... yeah there's that. Go team. Since then I've mostly avoided athletic exploits and stuck to casual games of volleyball at max, but mostly I like poker, board games, card games, video games... you TEND to avoid injury in those. 

I knew even the best of us must have had some major sports fails, so I polled some Facebook friends. Here are their candid responses: 

April: I fail at all sports -- most fails involve my face and a ball. But there was this one time they decided to force us to play kickball in PE and I ACTUALLY kicked the ball! ...Right into my crush's face... But still! I kicked the ball! And didn't fall over it!

Alicia: Ran so slow on my half-marathon that they re-routed the course (unsafely) and I only did 12.4 miles. No 13.1 sticker for me. =(

Joshua: First week of varsity soccer practice I got called up as a 8th grader to try out for the team and trying to impress the coach I decided to play defense against our schools best player and top scorer from the year before in a training drill. I slide tackled him and ended up breaking his foot and he missed the entire year (his senior year at that). Let's just say I didn't make you many friends on the team that year. Every struggle or loss we had was followed up by "well if josh wouldn't have broken Steven's foot..."

Natalie: Brittany Barnell Blevins scored on the wrong teams goal in basketball. 9th grade I think? I went up for a block in volleyball once and tipped it but didn't fully connect with the ball so it just fell down between me and the net and hit my face

Brittany (referenced above): She said what's YOUR failure not call out your friends failures. Geez, Natalie. But since we're confessing (or having others do it for us) I think I also ran the wrong way one time during a cheerleading half time. I was directionally challenged.

Stephen: I forgot to put my basketball shorts on one time so all I was in was my compression stuff and my jersey I had my shoes on and everything just no shorts. I pretty much ran to the gym door with everyone there and had to walk back to the room... I felt so free!

Sarah: The first time I got to play in a Varsity basketball game, within the first 5 seconds of being in the game, I scored a basket...for the wrong team. I didn't even realize that it was for the wrong team. I was doing a celebration dance, until a teammate came over and told me what I had done. The referees called a time out while they looked at their rule book to see what to do. They awarded those 2 points to the other team.

Sally: I know many will say this isn't a sport, which is understandable, but during my senior year as a cheerleader, I misspelled my school's initials in front of 900 people during halftime. Just blanked. Although since we were cheering for soccer, you could argue that THAT was embarrassing enough to overshadow my failure.

Faith: I played an entire season of softball and only hit the ball once.

Jeriah: Was at tennis practice and I was returning a serve. I overestimated where the ball was going to bounce so when it got to me, it came up a little too early it got me square between the legs. Or the time I was playing basketball: I was up at the top of the key, and my teammate went to pass me the ball, but it was higher than expected and bounced off my face. My glasses flew off in dramatic fashion. However, the ball bounced off my face back to my teammate, and he made the shot. So I don't know if that counts as a fail.

Karey: My 8th grade basketball team had gone undefeated all season till the last game. We had lost by 1 point (I'd only played about 10 seconds while a starter plugged a bloody nose.) after the game, in the locker room, everyone was crying because we lost. I was just miffed cause I didn't get to play much so I started undressing--right in front of our male coach! He just turned away & asked me to wait. I was horrified! Managers & stat girls all had to run out of the locker room laughing hysterically.

Brent: Wearing a long sleeved shirt. Jumped up and grabbed the rim at the basketball court, button got caught on the net and swung me. Landed on my face. Broke my nose.

I guess we all fail at sports at some point. What's your story?


  1. I broke so many pairs of glasses in 7th grade volleyball that my parents got special permission for me to quit mid-season (which was generally frowned upon, but the coach was sympathetic that time.)


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