Fresh Baked

Friday, August 27, 2004


I was 4 when I joined soccer and swim teams. This was also how old I was when I started Irish step-dancing, but that didn't go so well. I, it has been told, walked out to the car after that first lesson and told my mom, "It's a waste of my time and your money." Heh. I like that kid. But for the others, I loved every minute of all the years I was in them.

I stopped swimming first, at 11, although it was long before I was ready to move on. My event was the butterfly and, pardon my ego, I was damn good at it. I had record tags hanging on the board at the pool for fast times, trophies at home lauding my efforts, and my coach often asked me to demonstrate for other swimmers. Very Hot Shit. I even got threatened once by an older swimmer that she would kick my ass... but that was probably more for calling her little sister a bitch (deservedly). Most of my memories circulate around the food we ate, though-- Otter Pops and Knox Blox on meet days, Whatchamacallits and Abba-Zabbas on every other Friday, when were allowed a treat from Mom. I haven't really swum since then and I miss it, but only on occasion... like when I eat a Whatchamacallit or that time my college art teacher told us that he was the guy who created all the Otter Pop otter illustrations.

Soccer, however, I miss a lot, and often. I played for 14 years, though, so that was bound to happen. There is this feeling of invincibility I get when I step onto a pitch-- I feel strong and right; energized and totally concentrated on the game at hand. It doesn't matter if there is chaos outside the field-- it doesn't exist; I can hardly spell chaos at that point because I am so singularly focused. Even when I beat a dead horse, its like I don't even know he's dead and I keep pounding away.

I don't get that sports feeling any more. As a patch, I took up watching the World Cup and the Olympics; over the years, the women on the US team became my team-- to their successes and defeats I have had a visceral response. I will sincerely miss the retiring players and will, most likely, cry. But, in watching them, I have been reminded of how much I have given up and each time I think I'm going to do something about it this time. And this year, I did. I signed up to join a women's league that plays soccer in the area. But in finishing the on-line forms I noticed the 'click me, please! I give out prizes!' buttons and, eager to learn more about my new/old habit, I clicked. Damn, I wish I hadn't. Because on the page, bright as your mama, was the picture of US team and the headline 'Golden Girls' or some equally blanched announcement. Fuuuuuuuuuuudge [only I didn't say fudge... (10 points up for grabs there)].

I really wish I hadn't seen that. All Olympics long, I have successfully avoided not seeing such headlines. If I happened to hear a volleyball score or about the gymnastics or swimming, eh... I'll live. So long as I didn't learn anything about the soccer. And this, the gold medal match-- the 91ers final game, was no exception. Although I knew how it ended, I didn't know how they got to that point or the final score so I watched the game last night. But at 89:19, when it was a 90 minute regulation, going the 30 minute overtime? The tape stopped. Just cut out. Premature ejectulation. Over, finished, done.

So disappointing.