I'm a wannabe sport
When I was at school in Seoul nearly every year my gym teachers would assume that, because I happened to be one of the taller girls (or sometimes, the tallest girl) in the class, I would be good at sport. So regardless of my protests that I had never played a particular game before, they put me up for the basketball team (where I ended up fouling left right and centre before spectacularly missing the net, spraining my hand in the process), the handball team (where I was assigned goalie and the very first thing I did was get knocked out when the ball landed smack in my face) and the volleyball team (where I spent all my time smacking the ball out of the court and bruising my wrists so severely my mother was scared). Finally some bright spark decided I should be put on the athletics team.
"You have long legs, you should be able to run!" the gym teacher would say, just before I was out on the track. What she never mentioned was that all the other athletes were real athlete-wannabes, training every morning and weighing at least fifteen pounds less than me. Not knowing any of this, I never really worked out why I was sometimes in the middle, sometimes in the top, and sometimes even won the 100m dash.
I was very glad to let the whole 'sport' thing drop once I finished school, or so I thought. Actually, it was a slower process. In London, I joined a mixed hockey team which was about as haphazardly organised as my old school teams and created the same old stink due to lack of experience and knowledge of the rules while playing with my younger sister's old wooden sticks from her
school days. One day I came back from a game with such a big lump on the side of my head my boss asked me to go to the emergency for an X-ray to confirm I didn't have a concussion.
"If you're going to come back beaten up like that every time you play, I don't know if I should let you be on the team," she said.
"I'll be fine, really," I said. She shook her head, and said something typically Australian (for she was one), "Oh J-A, you're such a dag
It seems I have somehow been indoctrinated by the gym teachers that I am meant
to be good at sports, no matter the reality that I have never mastered a single game. My suspicions that I am a sado-masochist when it comes to sports was confirmed last Sunday, when I joined M.'s friends in their game of football (that's soccer to you Americans). Despite the fact that the last time I had kicked a football I had managed to break my right big toenail into two, I still joined in several games of three-a-side. M. and the boys had to teach me the correct way to kick the football. Needless to say, my right foot is covered in painful pink bruises, and as a result of catching a well-aimed American football to the chest after the football was over, I have several bruised ribs, too.
"I think I've cracked my ribs," I said to my secretary on Monday. She shook her head.
"If you had cracked your ribs, you wouldn't be standing there telling me that, hon. That would really
hurt," she said.
Ever heard of the one where the good sport took it a little too far? He ended up running past the finishing line, of course.