Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fat girls can't jump.

I felt the palms of my hands start to sweat. There was a hint of perspiration on my brow. They were picking teams. At first the teams were decided by where ever you happened to end up when you walked onto the court (read: field). No rhyme or reason to it really. No pressure. No humiliation. Now, after two games had determined one team's suck value as being exponentially greater than the other's, it was decided that we should pick teams. Great. My worst playground nightmare revisited. I hung my head and walked over to the line up.

What you should first understand is that I was camping with my family. After dinner Thursday night various cousins, their friends, and their kids decided it was time for Volleyball. What you should also understand is that my oldest male cousin considers Volleyball to be a sacred sport. All rules should be followed and all pansies should be left behind. I used to play when I was in Junior High, but hadn't gone down that road since. Perhaps all the times I declined playing in the past was the reason I wasn't asked to play this time...or perhaps I'm just a pansy.

I went and got my camera and started taking pictures as they warmed up and called over more people to play. When I heard them say that they needed another player on one side I had an out of body experience when the words "I'll play." came forth from my lips as I put my camera away. Enthusiasm actually rang out, but I'm sure it was quickly deemed overkill after my first few run in's with the ball proved futile. Bumps sent the ball soaring to the left about 4 times in a row. My first set had such incoming spin on it that it went spiraling behind me instead of up or forward. It was all very tragic. The only things I really had going for me were my serves. Though underhanded, they were solid and consistent. We lost the first game and rallied a little for the second, but still ended up defeated. My inner Volleyball Diva gradually appeared, but I didn't feel she was ready to sustain the fatal blow of being left last picked for a team...again.

What had often been the case in my youth was that teams would be formed and if people were unaware of my playing ability, I was strictly assessed by my size. She's fat, she can't possibly play well. What they failed to realize was that when my arm is warmed up and my weight is put behind a softball, I can throw from center field to home with ease and when my lefthandedness and girth were put behind a solidly placed pitch, it didn't really matter how slow I ran because I will have at least hit everyone else home even if I only made it to second or third base. What they failed to realize is that my thigh muscles are huge from carrying around my weight and when put to use in kickball no one really stood a chance. What they failed to realize is that what I may have lacked in speed, I made up for in strength. Regardless, I was often left, well, last girl standing.

So there I stood, lined up in front of my family, resolved to be last again. The obvious first picks, the guys, the power hitters, the one's willing to dive for the ball and show their true appreciation for the game, were called out first. I am not one of those people. I am OK with that. A couple of the girls were picked and it was down to a straggling few. I got called. I almost had to ask them if they were sure. Who? Me? As the games progressed I steadily moved up in rank when they chose new teams. I wasn't last girl standing anymore.

We played for three and a half hours straight on Thursday and another 2 hours yesterday morning before I left. Between games people went off to hydrate, smoke, potty, etc. Yesterday I stayed and decided to see if the old girl still had some overhand serves left in her. Old girl does. I sent 6 in a row blazing over the net. Aforementioned oldest male cousin said, "Why the hell haven't you been serving like that in the games?" I confessed that I was a chicken shit and didn't think I still had it in me. He said I did. I had first serve when the next game started. I opted to break out the overhand serves. Untouchable. They soon realized that what I lacked in speed, I made up for in strength. I soon realized that I can't laugh and overhand serve at the same time. Oh well. Nobody's perfect.

I opted to only spend one night camping with my family because I didn't want to completely sabotage my efforts with the garbage we usually consume while camping. The calories I did eat while there were easily burnt off with all of my time spent playing Volleyball, but I thought it best to end my trip and head for home. It was only about a 20 minute drive home, but that is apparently time enough for my body to feel the effects of five or so hours of Volleyball. I got out of the car and my joints ached. My ankles, my knees, my hips, my wrists. After my shower I laid on the couch and I could not get comfortable. No matter how I seemed to lay, my hips were lecturing me on how 340something pound girls have no business lurching hither and thither at a moment's notice just to hit a silly little ball back and forth. My knees and ankles shook a stern bit of cartilage at me for running after the ball so often (uh huh, I said RUNNING). That my joints and I must first come to an understanding before making any repeated sudden movements. I tried to shut them up with plenty of ibuprofen, but it was too busy trying to console the pinched nerve in my neck that I've had for two weeks (yeah, I still played, even when said nerve gave me a headache throughout all of yesterday's game play). I hurt...and I didn't care.

This morning when I woke up I slowly got out of bed as the realization of what I'd done to my body thoroughly sank in. Every muscle hurt, every joint hurt, every eyelash hurt. Not excruciatingly so, but I hurt nonetheless. Every time I move today I am reminded of what I did...and I'm proud. Fat girls still can't jump, but at least this one got out there and tried.


Carlos said...

wow what a great victory! i love when every sore muscle reminds me of the exercise i did to get it that way. im a lefty too by the way, me, you and ned flanders!

CJ said...

That's terrific! I am so proud of you! Those aches and pains are "war wounds" and you earned every one of them! You had a major victory, girl! WTG!!

S said...

You go girl! I am proud of you for standing up for the 'fat' white girls! Way to show that ball and those people what you are made of!

Sophia said...

Good for you Kel! I'm so glad that I was able to find your blog again. You sound like you are in a really good place in your life and I'm excited to read about your journey. You inspire me so much! Rock on girlfriend - I'm rooting for you!
P.S. We just set up a Monster volleyball in our backyard - heck yeah it's good exercise and stress reduction too! :)