Like my mother, I was never much into sports. My reasons were solely rooted in pride. I didn't understand the rules of the games, and, somewhat ironically, I didn't want to. If I learned the rules, then I'd be expected to participate, and my lack of coordination would rear its ugly head; thus, I would embarrass myself even more than usual.
However, one sport I did learn to like and did understand (thanks to junior high P.E.), was hockey. I used to joke that I should have been born in Canada, since our northern neighbors seem to enjoy the sport more than the population of the States in general. I don't really follow pro hockey, though I claim loyalties to the Montreal Canadiens. And, to a lesser extent, the St. Louis Blues. There's really no reason for either of these loyalties. I sort of like the Colorado Avalanche and the Phoenix Coyotes because of their names and logos, also. Really, now that I think of it, name and logo have a lot to do with my choosing which hockey teams I "like," even though I don't follow any of them.
Anyway, I was talking about P.E. The only times I ever got excited in P.E. were 1) When I was asked to run an errand, thus saving me from running laps or participating in class, 2) When I was allowed a leave of absense to go to the bathroom or get a drink (not that I ever needed either, but these were, once again, chances to leave and save myself a little embarrassment) or 3) When we played roller hockey--without the skates. I became vicious and ruthless during hockey. I took the position of center, even when I was assigned a defensive position (meaning that I played both offensive and defensive when I was supposed to only be protecting the goalie box). This does not mean I was good at the sport, by any means, but it was the only sport I actually tried at.
One time, my friend, BW was in P.E. with me and she let the puck slide right past her and into the goalie box, scoring a goal for the other team. I charged her, and nearly threw my hockey stick on the ground. "What was that?!" I screamed at her.
"I don't know--didn't feel like going after it."
"Didn't feel like what!" I was turning into a drill sergeant. "All you had to do was put the stick out and stop the thing. I could have taken it from there!" I was obviously high-sticking by this point. My P.E. teacher was so thrilled that I was actually participating that she overlooked my high-sticking infraction and did not give me time in the "penalty box" (a.k.a. the bleachers).
In 7th grade I memorized the names of all the teams in the NHL. For what purpose, I'll never know. That same year, I wrote a letter (that I never sent, thank God) to the Canadiens practically begging them to allow me, a 13-year-old American female, to play for their team. Fortunately, that was also the year I took up the guitar, and my strangely eclectic interests took a turn in another, more musical and literary, direction. It's a good thing, too. I'd have never made it as a pro-hockey player.
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