My first memory of the Olympics is of watching Mary Lou Retton score perfect 10s when it mattered most.
She didn't make me want to BE a gymnast - it was already too late for that. (I was 13.) But she certainly was the biggest female sports hero I can recall from my youth. (Later there was the whole Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan spectacle which was memorable in a whole other way. And then Greg Louganis. That I can remember these names at all really says something about the celebrity of Olympic athletes, as I watch very little sports. But those are posts for another time!)
I've never much enjoyed sports. In elementary school I did whatever I could NOT to participate in PE. I remember the horror of standing at bat -- and missing. I was much more comfortable indoors banging the erasers and wiping down the chalk boards. In high school I made a deal with my coach: I would help him with his bus schedules if he would let me sit out of PE. (Now said coach would probably be fired for this behavior, but boy, did it work out for me in 11th grade!) I realize now that what I lacked wasn't necessarily prowess, but experience. I had no self-confidence when it came to sports. Even though I spent lots of time outdoors exploring, I was never on a soccer team or softball team or any kind of sports team. Girls these days are so so lucky to have all the options available to them. Talk about progress!
As an adult I've enjoyed aerobics and Jazzercise, and currently, yoga. Being an introvert, I still enjoy solitary sports best of all -- like walking. Walking the El Camino Santiago is a dream of mine. Which brings me to a conversation recently that forced me to reframe my image of myself.
Paul and I were at supper with another couple. The husband works for Nike, and when I made my claim about not being athletic, he said, "You have a body, right? You like to do SOMETHING, don't you?"
And I was like, yes, actually, I do. I like to walk. And we discussed how my self-limiting thought was just like the one that frustrates ME so much -- when people claim they aren't creative.
EVERYONE IS CREATIVE, I say.
And now I have something new to say: EVERYONE IS ATHLETIC.