When I was little, I played soccer.
I did not like soccer. It was hot outside. And there was a lot of yelling and running. And I didn't quite get the point. But I had to follow the rules, so I ran around after the ball and kicked it and all of that stuff. Because one of the rules was that you had to try.
But mostly, it was hot outside.
When I got older (to the ripe old age of 9), I realized that the rules just said I had to try to be the first to the ball. That I didn't actually have to touch it. So for a season, my last season, I played soccer by running up to the ball and then jumping over it. That was when my parents realized that yes, I really did not want to play soccer at all. And they let me stop.
And I no longer had to run around when it was hot outside.*
I actually have played soccer later. In high school and college, I played co-ed intermural indoor soccer. But that was just fun running about. No one really was all that concerned about doing well, although we did try to win. But it was more something to do at night and an excuse to hang out. Also, a lot of my friends in high school were just really awesome soccer players so they really enjoyed playing.
Also, it was at night, so it wasn't hot.
Later, my parents put me and my sisters in Tae-Kwon-Do. My sisters stopped after the first month or so, but I kept going.
And even though I never learned how to properly form a fist (no seriously, I just can't do it. I think my fingers are weirdly proportioned or something. Anyway, hitting things with my hands hurts. I would much rather kick people)**, I was rather good at it. Or decently good at it, anyway.
And then eventually my sisters started again, and because they are amazingly athletically talented, they quickly became better than me, even my sister who was 5 at the time and then I no longer liked Tae-Kwon-Do because it wasn't my thing anymore and it just became the awkward place I tried to avoid when I went to the fabric shop, (it was next door) but where the teachers seemed to remember who I was an astonishingly long time after I stopped taking lessons, considering I had only been there for about a year and was just average.
Since I am a student, I can take fitness classes for free at my graduate school. So I agreed to go to a cardio kickboxing class with one of my new grad school maybe-friends*** Because I like kicking things. Or pretending to kick things. And exercise is good for me. And I was intrigued by the idea because WHAT EVEN IS CARDIO KICKBOXING. And also it seemed like a social activity that didn't actually involve direct interaction, so that would be good.
So I went. It was rather strange.
(Like this but not the weird outfits and a lot more people.)
And realized how amazingly uncoordinated I am. There were all these random kicking pattern things that we had to learn and people seemed to just catch on to them like magic. We were just supposed to follow the person in front and figure out what they were doing. And then once we started doing patterns, we would change them every so often. And there were random new things added in. And basically, I didn't actually fall over, but I was very close to it several times.
Because there were so many new things all at once.
But it was good exercise and no one seemed to care (or really notice) about my remarkable uncoordinated-ness. So that was a good thing.
And also it wasn't hot. Which is the real measure of a good thing.
Anyway, thinking about cardio kickboxing made me realize what I loved so much about Tae-Kwon-Do, and why I did so much better in it than in any other athletic activity I tried.
Everything was broken down into little, tiny steps. (I never did any of the sparring, just the patterns and routines and classes). There was how to hold your fist. Where to look. How to have your arms positioned. Where your feet were supposed to go. At every single moment. Everything was broken down into small bits.
It wasn't assumed that we would just pick up on what everyone else was doing.
That was (one of the many, many reasons) why I could do Tae-Kwon-Do and not this kickboxing exercise class.
* Although, I still had to go to games for a while, because my siblings played and "we support each other as a family." Eventually I managed to get hit in the face with a soccer ball enough times (strangely enough, that happened to me alarmingly frequently as a spectator), grump enough about going, and probably most importantly, become actually old enough to stay home alone unsupervised.
**But really, I never learned to form a fist. Really! Here's a picture of me attempting to make a fist many many times. There's just a hole through my fingers! And I can't figure out how to make a staight line with both my wrist and my fingers! (And also I really enjoy making things on PicMonkey, which is the REAL reason you get to see this lovely collage of my hand attempting to make a fist.) (Look at all the cool/random/probably useless things you can add! Like stars! And FIREWORKS! And random tree prints!)
*** It's only 2 weeks in so it is hard to tell who is actually friends or if actual friends have formed or if we are just all still being nice and trying to make friends or whatnot.
Labels: autism, coordination, fitting in, grad school, me, my family, ramblings, sports