Thursday, March 15, 2012

Team sports

Something I will truly never understand is peoples' fascination with team sports. Name dropping catchy sounding athlete name over and over, game points, ego attachment, all of it is something completely out of my realm of understanding. Obviously I get the working out part, but to workout with the express purpose of competing against another team? Whatever, my friends. You go and have fun with that.

In middle school, I was courted to be on the basketball team due entirely to my height. I am a very tall man and have always been that way. We had an even taller basketball coach who hounded me day in and day out to be on his team. I did not in any way show that I had even the slightest bit of athleticism in me, but that did not matter. They claimed they could bring it out of me and I would be a basketball star and would therefore be accepted by my peers. They touted I would also have a place to belong, that I could have a body I would be proud of. You name my psychological drawbacks, they exploited them.

And yet in the face of all that, I turned it down. I honestly had no desire to be a part of a team. That acceptance would be as fleeting as winning or losing a game. I knew even then there's not a snowball's chance in hell I would be proud of my own body. And I would feel a chance of belonging one day but I will have no idea when, where, or with whom.

Everybody who tried so hard to make me want to be a part of the team suddenly and unsurprisingly turned against me. Nobody could understand that I simply had no desire to play basketball. I somehow became even more of an outcast than I was before. I knew I made the right decision and that's all that mattered. I do not believe in doing something that brings you no joy. I would have had to put a lot of time into something I couldn't even begin to care about and I didn't see that as a positive way to live my life. But to see those people who tried so hard to sell me on playing basketball suddenly turn around and call me a jerk for wasting their time and a loser for not wanting to be an athlete was very jarring and hurtful.

Even years later, I can't begin to play basketball. I hold the ball and all those scars get ripped open.  I have muscles now but I am not proud of my body. I can't take my shirt off around people. And who the hell knows if I will ever belong anywhere.

What a way to take something that, at most, could have been a passing interest and turn it into something I shall never care for. As for the other team sports, they are all fundamentally the same to me. You take a ball and put it through something for points. One team tries to get ball through goal and one team tries to stop team from getting ball through goal. Oh, how very interesting.

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