I played myriad sports growing up, and I tried to be athletic. I really did.
As a youngling, I played soccer in the street. In middle school I ran track, and in high school I secured a spot on the volleyball team. It should be noted, however, that the capstone of the latter experience was me being the only “B-Team” player to move up to junior varsity, where I warmed the bench week after week, offering up glowing support for my teammates and harboring only mild bitterness.
But it should have been obvious to me early on that I wasn’t destined for athletic greatness. In seventh grade, when I was all legs and small feet, I took my place on the track team. Jumping hurdles. And one track meet, I stumbled upon a very hard truth for me: This white girl can’t jump.
One particular meet—the first time I tackled the hurdles—I was buzzing with anticipation to show the entire school (including a handful of my current crushes) my prowess. We lined up, and I stretched my calves and swung my arms around like I had seen the high school girls do (except with as much grace as a harbor seal).
And then we were off. Moving my legs as fast as I could, I looked to my left and right and it dawned on me that I was leader of the pack. My heart soared as I knew this victory would land me my first boyfriend. Then came the fourth hurdle, and as my right foot hooked underneath the bar I spiraled to the ground, taking at least two other girls with me.
I’m willing to bet being rolled off the field in a wheelchair by my hysterical mother didn’t do me any favors in the dating department.
Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer and mother of two.