First of all, the only sport I was good at was Martial Arts because my dad taught me his form of Jujitsu. He was not, however, a follower of America's top three favorite sports--football, baseball and basketball--so I was not exposed to them at home.
Secondly, in Elementary Public School, our gym class often consisted of running around the gym or the playground, dancing to YMCA, and playing Dodgeball. I never learned how to actually play sports because the teacher usually separated the boys from the girls so that the boys played basketball together while the girls played jump rope.
I hated playing jump rope. I was terrible at it.
"We don't do anything in Gym! Can I stay here?" I remember begging my fifth grade teacher, and she'd let me help her to clean up the classroom and set up the next activity. I treasured these one-on-one moments with my teacher.
I remember feeling extremely lost when it came to soccer, softball, volleyball and basketball. I didn't know the rules like the other kids did, never mind the fact that I had awful hand-eye coordination. It was heartbreaking to me because I was not only an outsider as a Puerto Rican from a low-income family but also because I couldn't play sports. I dreaded going to Gym class and thought it a waste of time.
It's no surprise then that I didn't follow organized sports throughout most of my young adult life.
What may surprise you is that a four year old taught me to love baseball. Yes, a four year old who I babysat in college. He was an avid follower of the Mets just like his dad and older brother.
His world revolved around baseball. We'd play makeshift baseball in his large living room, we created baseball cards using paper and markers, we studied a book of stadiums, we played baseball on his Xbox and we watched Mets games on end.
Until then, I'd only been the "I like the Yankees because my grandpa likes the Yankees" kind of sports fan. But this little boy explained to me what a ball and a strike was, what it meant to hit a grand slam and who played what position. It still amazes me that a kid taught me what adults couldn't--to find the joy in sports.
As for my newfound love of basketball and the New York Knicks, I can thank my boyfriend for that, and I'm glad to say that we are exposing our sons to sports in a way that I never was. I want them to learn from early on the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship, and maybe by the time they're old enough to play organized sports, they won't feel as lost as I did.
I Want to Know:
- Did you like sports as a kid? Were you any good at it?
- Do your children play sports? Do you see sports benefiting them?
This post is linked to Six Word Saturday.