Anyone who has seen me in action knows that sports and I are not a safe combination. I am so uncoordinated, I make a bouncing football look like the Bolshoi. I once tried out for a softball team. After taking out half the outfield and three parents in the stands, the coach pulled me aside and suggested I try something a little less dangerous. Like competitive sleeping.
Turns out, the rules of dodge ball and softball are entirely different.
With my history of deficient athletic prowess, voluntarily entering a sporting event is just about as appealing as a slab of bacon to a failed Atkins dieter. Unfortunately, every January I find myself in my own special Winter Triathlon.
Sidewalk Skating / Interpretive Dance Combo
I rarely salt, sweep or otherwise prepare my front steps or sidewalk for safe passage in winter. Of course the moment a perfect sheet of ice has formed outside, I remember something I absolutely must have. This means leaving the house.
The top step launches me into a slipping, sliding, twisting convulsion down the sidewalk. My neighbors have posted scorecards in their front yards. Yesterday, I earned a perfect 10 for unsurpassed originality and the most successful flailing/flapping combo ever before seen. Good thing plowing into my car is considered a perfect landing.
Gas Pump Jitterbug
If the temperature is below zero, it’s a safe bet you can find me at a gas pump without a coat, hat or gloves. Pumping gas is as fast and furious a winter sport as ice hockey, but not quite as fun as a puck upside the head. Points are earned for successfully inserting the nozzle into the gas tank with shaking hands, jumping up and down for warmth and keeping my frozen nose attached to my face until I am back in the car. I earn a Hat Trick for skating and interpretive dancing to the office window when my card doesn’t work at the pump.
Grocery Store Slalom
By far, the most competitive winter sport in my area is grocery shopping the night before a predicted snow. If it’s a flurry or a foot, the grocery store will be packed with people and buggies frantically stocking up and jockeying for position at the checkout. Two nights ago, a woman buying the entire produce section, 3 cows, 5 gallons of milk and three loaves of bread eyed me as I ducked past. I lunged into an opening at the speedy checkout, bought my frozen pizza and Pepsi and made it out of the store alive before her precision eye-darts hit me in the back. I earned extra points the next morning when the whole town woke to clear roads and sunshine.
So while softball is out of the question and I will never run a marathon, wintertime brings a triathlon of winter sports where even I can excel. As yet, emergency room visits have not been required, but the season is still young.
Reluctant Athlete was originally posted at An Army of Ermas on January 12, 2011.