Monday, April 22, 2013

Go team go, meh, whatever

Driving to work the other day I saw some school students engaged in a grueling game of kickball.
Kickball is played on a baseball diamond where a large, red inflatable rubber ball is rolled from the pitcher's mound to home plate and the person kicks the ball and runs the bases like they do in real baseball.
The ball is about the size of a basketball and even Stevie Wonder could see it coming. I am not sure who invented this game or why, but I have been part of this competition in my school days so I understand the pressure these youngsters face.
If you kick at the ball and miss everyone – including the janitor – will laugh at you.
It is meant to be a fun game designed to get kids some fresh air and physical activity and for the most part it succeeds in this quest.
But because this game was a competition – even a fun one – there were a few people in my school who took it far too seriously and acted like it was the biggest game of their lives.
I call these people idiots. The high school I went to was bristling with jocks who used to go around pumping each other up for the big game – which was just about any game these lunkheads were playing.
Personally I was geared more toward the fun aspect of sports rather than a rip-out-their-spleens-and-stomp-their-entrails kind of player.
Because the school was brimming with meatheads, er, I mean youth with athletic ability and prowess, those with less-than skills were pariahs who were to be shunned and ignored at all times – even if you had known each other since Grade 1.
In my high school, if you were not a jock, you were nothing. I was a quasi-jock, trapped in a no-man's land between an athlete and a dork (well, a dork by their standards anyway.)
I was a decent hockey player and I did alright at pretty much any sport I tried, but that was not good enough in the land of super jocks.
You had to breath fire and poop lava. You had to show no mercy for your weakling opponents as you crushed them without mercy – and that was just for kickball.
For real sports like football and basketball – the two mainstays of my school – you had to get fired up to the point where your entire existence was based on how well you did on the plane of competition.
If you weren't out there to win, to destroy and to decimate your opposition then get off the field.
OK, see ya later.
I was alright with not being an elite athlete. I was tall and somewhat athletic, but I really couldn't stand being around the jocks.
They treated non-jocks like crap, they were all very high on themselves and they always had to travel in two buses – one for the players and one for their egos.
Both of our gym teachers were also the coaches who tried to replace their team's success for their own failed athletic careers.
They were borderline psychotic when it came to sports and unless you were one of their jocks, you were nothing.
Not one of my school's super jocks took their careers beyond a college level. No one turned pro, no one made a name for themselves in their chosen sport.
Many of them ended their careers with injuries and a sub-standard education because they spent more time on the field that in the classroom.
I did not socialize with them in high school – I don't speak dumbass – and I certainly have not sought them out since.
But as I look at life now with my beautiful wife and three amazing kids, the old high school athletic glory seems pointless, proving I was right not to give a fat rat's butt back then, much like I do now.

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