JavaChick mentioned in a recent blog post about her dislike of team sports, which got me thinking about how certain things shape you and your outlook on life.
When I was young, I despised team sports. I was not the most coordinated kid, and certainly one of the "outcasts" - tall, skinny, awkward. I was invariably chosen last, or next to last, for whatever team sport we happened to be forced to play. I was a shy, sensitive child, and afraid of everything. With good reason - my face seemed to be a magnet for whatever ball happened to be in my vicinity! I was hit with baseballs, volleyballs, basketballs and medicine balls. In the face. Every time. And occasionally on purpose.
The team captains were always the most popular girls in school, and excelled at sports. They would fight over the other girls in their clique, leaving the rest of us standing there, dreading the moment when we would be the last one standing; alone, unchosen. It was a horrible feeling to know in your heart that you and the mentally handicapped girl in class would be vying for last place! I still remember in elementary school, standing on the windy ball diamond, alone and humiliated, when the team captain said something to the effect that she guessed she'd have to take me in order to even out the teams .... I blamed the wind for the tears in my eyes!
It was a cruel way to choose teams, and it wasn't until junior high school that we finally had a teacher who seemed to recognize it and divided the teams more equitably by lining us up and taking every second girl for the opposing team. Didn't take the popular girls long to figure out how to get around that by standing with the girls they didn't want on their team in between them! But it saved the rest of us the humiliation of standing alone, waiting to be chosen.
Of course, I did exact a small measure of revenge on some of those girls. I could whip a lot of their butts when it came to badminton or some of the track and field sports! But the humiliation experienced on the ball diamond has stayed with me all these years, and I think it has shaped how I view myself and my place in the world.
So you can keep your baseball bats and soccer balls, but put a badminton racquet in my hand and you'd better watch out! I will be the last one standing.