Ok, I don’t have any. Prowess, that is, athletic or otherwise. I learned at a young age that I am not athletic, and despite my ability to dance up a storm, I am apparently, not overly coordinated either. Rats!

As a child, in school, I was last to be picked for any team. I scored on my own team in basketball in grade 5 (couldn’t understand why everyone was fighting to throw the ball in the one net, when another was wide open at the opposite end) I was much better by grade 8 in folkdance. The gym teacher paired us up for a Russian dance called the ‘Troika’. My partner was a fat kid named Ralph who was a good head taller and 30 pounds heavier than any other boy in the class (it was his 3rd year in grade 8) and we were the best. Coulda gone pro too, except that he’s still in grade 8.

Then came outdoor gym, girls field hockey. I hated field hockey. There were always grasshoppers in the field, and they jump randomly and in weird directions (do these things not have eyes?) They always seem to bounce off you, no matter where you go. Ok, also, I stunk. I never got near the puck/ball, whatever, and when I did, I was so afraid an opponent would whack me with their stick, I shied away.

In my later teens I tried volleyball. A friend of my fathers coached a team of ladies and suggested I might join them. When I arrived at the gym they were practicing, giving me time to observe. (Jesus, they were big. Had I signed up for volleyball or an Amazon decathlon?) The coach placed me near the back and urged me to ‘take an active role’, whatever that means. I’ll be honest. I don’t remember much after the first serve. The ball was hurled across the net and then big bodies just stared pounding it. (I ducked out before they mistook me for a ball) I’m young, who needs exercise?

I tried golf. (and by the way, it’s much harder than it looks) My future husband took me out to teach me. He bought me clubs and a bag (not the colour I would’ve chosen but I decided to forgive this reckless oversight) This looked promising, surely! Beautiful scenery, cute outfits, and a lovely dining room after, for a civilized dinner, now this is my kind of exercise! I swatted away at several balls, flies, God knows what else, and after removing a substantial amount of turf, I leaned back proudly against our golf cart to peruse my achievement (damage) It was at this inopportune moment my beloved decided to drive away (probably in embarrassment) and I fell and cracked my elbow.  Ok, so golf is not my thing (but I still like the whole, cute outfit, clubhouse, dinner thing).

In my mature adult years I took a renewed interest in my physical well-being, (ok, I gained weight) and decided to try jogging. Everyone was doing it. Commercials boasted its’ benefits, doctors vouched for the cardio exercise; (also, the fashion industry now produced the cutest outfits for running!) how hard can it be?


I joined a running club. I thought professional coaching would give me the guidance and science I needed (cause it wasn’t coming instinctively) I bought all the gear, sneakers, socks, running pants, (who runs without pants?) and a waist pack that held what felt like 6 gallons of water (cause the 12 gallons in my bladder,,,,, that wasn’t enough) I ‘hoarded’ with the group so I would be social. (Woulda worked too, if I hadn’t stumbled out of the launch and tripped a couple of seasoned runners. One of them actually knocked out a tooth,,,,what a shame,,,handsome fellow) I did forge a couple of friendships though. Ok, not friends really, we just had a few laughs in common during class, (you know, at  the guy without teeth) Anyway, it’s hard, really hard, and it hurts (Running that is, not the laughing).

I was told to give it 2 weeks so my muscles could ‘acclimatize’. What they actually did was seize. Took me another 3 weeks to restore / relax my joint muscles. (Jesus, why do people do this?) And by the way, take a good look at the face of a jogger next time you pass them. They aren’t happy. (ok, maybe cause I tripped them) They’re pained,and it’s obvious they aren’t having fun. (Good health, my ass.) Thank God I had the good sense to give that up before further disaster ensued (I like my teeth)

Finally I discovered walking. Simple. No expensive gear or clothing. No training. (no accidents,,,,,so far, anyway) I plug in my head gear (IPOD) and often it’s not even on (I wear it because I get tired of people stopping to ask me for directions—-do you see 411 on my forehead?) And NO pain. Oh, I keep a good clip, believe me, so I’m getting my workout but you won’t see that pained expression on my face that you see on the face of the joggers. (and I still have my teeth)

I think I finally got it. The perfect exercise that gives me good health,,,,,,and keeps the rest of society safe,,,,,from me. You know, I’d still love to be a famous athlete. On the podium, accepting the gold medal…maybe in my next life… or at the next Russian Folk Dance Festival…..Ralph, where are you? (probably still in grade 8)





One thought on “My Athletic Prowess

  1. Love it, Em! You know they say it takes a long time to appreciate the simple things and, indeed, walking is that and it’s healthier & safer than jogging, etc. or at least is for people with joint vulnerabilities from past escapades with more “action-related” sports (e.g. volleyball and Russian dancing). Take care and we miss you two.


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