(I know, that is one seriously messed up title, but please hang in there with me as I hope to make it clear as to why it isn’t QUITE as weird as it sounds.)
Between my Beloved and me, we have a LOT of athletic ability. Unfortunately—-at least from my perspective—she is the one who has virtually ALL of it!
My athletic ability was confined to some fencing—-no, not the kind that sometimes delineates property lines; I’m talking about the kind where you try to stick each other with long pointy metal objects. I’d be terrible at fence building, but I was actually pretty decent at the other kind of fencing.
That’s primarily because I had a HUGE advantage over my male opponents and many of my female ones: Scrawny people make smaller targets! And few people in the U.S. were skinnier than me.
For non-fencers, “Foils” are the name of the pointy things that look like what the Three Musketeers used to dispatch so many of Cardinal Richelieu’s henchmen in the movies, but the ones we used had little plastic tips on the end which were designed to keep us from dispatching each other. Unfortunately, in the heat of “battle” the thin square blades too-often broke, and we relied on our sharp-eyed instructor to quickly blow her whistle before paramedics and large mops were needed.
I won bout after bout– or match after match, or whatever they are called when two fencers begin to wail on each other with those sharp pointy things. It was a long time ago and I’ve forgotten. What I do remember is that I started getting cocky. (When am I EVER going to learn?)
My cockiness didn’t last long, though. A cute girl who was even smaller than me (and therefore a smaller and far more distracting target) dispatched me as though I had been standing still. I became more humble after that.
But getting back to my Beloved—and I find her a MUCH more enjoyable topic than talking about all the ways I’ve embarrassed myself growing up—and keep doing so as an adult! (One of us is a SLOW learner but this time I’m not going to rat him out).
Anyway, back in high school, I wasn’t particularly fond of some of the people who were in the groups lovingly referred to as “Jocks” and “Rah-Rahs”, probably for at least two very understandable–at least from MY perspective–reasons.
1. I wasn’t a Jock–not even in my dreams.
For those who didn’t grow up in the U.S. and may be unfamiliar with our slang, a “Jocks” is a term of “endearment” given to an athlete by non-athletes, and derived from the name of the athletic supporters (also known as “cups”) male athletes wear to protect critical parts of their anatomy below the waist) while playing sports.
2. I had no chance in hell of ever dating a Rah-Rah. (Though in my dreams… Ahem, there goes my mind wandering off yet again. Sorry.) As I was saying, I had no chance in hell of ever dating a Rah-Rah.
In fact, I was one of THOSE guys in high school who after a girl rejected me a few times when I asked her for a date, she finally decided that she’d had enough, and told me that she couldn’t go out on a date with me because she was “washing her hair.” I quickly found out later that that is girl-talk which means, roughly, “No you obtuse idiot, I don’t EVER want to date you, and I wouldn’t date you if you were the last guy in the universe!”) OUCH!
I know; I’m a SLOW learner! (But why does the world have to keep reminding me? Oh, that’s right, it’s because I’m a slow-learner… Sigh…)
But you know what? I had the last laugh! Despite my slightly less-than stellar athletic and dating records in high school, and my completely understandable (at least from MY perspective) dislike of some of the Jocks and Rah-Rahs, I ended up marrying both a female “Jock” and a “Rah-Rah”!
And by some miracle, 33 years later I’m STILL married to her. Who’da thunk? I guess Jocks and Rah-Rahs aren’t so bad after all! ;-D!
My Beloved had been a Flag Girl, which qualifies her as being a Rah-Rah, but it was an athlete that she REALLY shined. And in case you think I’m exaggerating, my Beloved was voted “Most Athletic” in our whole large high school.
She lettered in several sports (all that she could have lettered in due to over-lapping sports seasons), and right out of high school had even been signed to play with a newly-formed professional women’s softball league! See what I mean?
Can you tell that I’m proud of Beloved’s athletic abilities? What is even more amazing is that she is only 4 feet 10 inches tall (though she claims to be 4 feet 10 and ONE HALF inches tall.) She’s such a braggart! (Actually, she is humble, and isn’t fond of me bringing up all of her many accomplishments, so let’s just keep this our little secret, shall we? I’m the braggart, when it comes to my family and friends.)
When I say she was small, it helps to have some perspective. When I married her I believe she was only a dress size 0 or 2, and she still wears petite clothes often found in the children’s section of stores. So, my Beloved was often playing against girls that were a LOT bigger than her.
Her nickname on high school sports teams was Shrimp”. I still smile with pride whenever I see that name that had been sewn onto her old—-ok, more like ancient–high school sweat shirt.
The position she played in softball was catcher. Girls almost twice her size and weight thought they could intimidate or bowl her over as they ran toward home plate. They were wrong.
She dug in her heals, scrunched down, and leaned into them.
The effect was not too much different than a bobcat running head-first into a bowling bowl that is sunk in concrete. Guess who most often bounced! Even the biggest girls rarely tried that twice!
By the way, my brain works in very strange ways. (As if you hadn’t already noticed that a LONG time ago!) I began writing a post about family fun with rolled up socks—-I know, that topic is strange enough by itself– but that made me think of my Beloved’s amazing throwing arm, and that led me to detour onto this post first.
Thank you for hanging in there when my mind runs off into its weird tangents–and titles!