My sister-in-law (not the one I discuss below, the other one) suggested the idea for this post… and I’ve been saving it for a special Tuesday, since Tuesdays are volleyball days. Clearly, I love that girl because only for her would I share the story of the picnic table.
My husband, his sister, and I play volleyball once a week at the local Belvedere Supper Club. They’ve got a great outdoor sand volleyball court, complete with lights for these rapidly shortening days (sigh… northern Wisconsin…). We were originally promised a league, but no other teams ever showed up so we just come every week and play against ourselves, splitting up however we see fit. It’s awesome because the winning team gets a prize every week– usually a free drink or free fish fry. YES! Winning is the best! Except went you don’t. And then at least playing is pretty dang fun.
I’m no Misty May, but I enjoy volleyball and I’m reasonably tall, so I’ve got that going for me. BUT, I’m also very awkward and, unfortunately, that really shines on the volleyball court.
Last Tuesday, I called everyone else off on a high volley and THUMP. The ball dropped to my chest, made a terrible thud sound, and just stopped. Sigh.
In grad school, I joined an indoor volleyball league in Rockville with a friend and even bought knee pads with the intent of diving. The only time I ever did was when I tripped on my way to the ball, missing it completely. (Good thing I had knee pads.)
But the volleyball incident in college, that was the really spectacular one.
The summer before my sophomore year started, I played with a bunch of other RAs out at McClain State Park (it’s right on Lake Superior and it’s beautiful– I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the UP). To appropriately set this story up, I should tell you that I was not yet dating my now husband, but very much wanted to… and he witnessed everything.
First, I got pulled over on the way there, but my ID was in the trunk and I had to awkwardly get out of the car while all of my other friends (including that dreamy dude I wanted to date!) drove by. Ugh.
I slowly got over that humiliation as I got into the game and was feeling pretty awesome until BOOM… picnic table. Because what else? And I didn’t just run into the picnic table, I ran so into the picnic table that I ended up on the picnic table. Oy.
Let me draw you a diagram:
Now. Let me describe to you my level of mortification, starting with the earliest incident. In college, I pretty much wanted to die. The guy I liked saw everything (what a good guy to marry me anyway– although this may help explain why it took almost 10 years) and I pretty much felt like my life was over. Also, I was pretty bruised up, and that was a constant reminder of the humiliation. Not to mention the warning I got for failing to slow down. I lived in constant fear of getting re-pulled over with an upgrade from warning to full-blow ticket for the next three years. (The unnecessary stress I put myself under, I swear…)
In grad school, I was embarrassed and it really fueled my insecurity. I didn’t feel like my life was over, but I pretty much backed off after that. I wanted desperately to be good at volleyball and to play more so that I could get there, but instead, I hung back, let others play, and stayed on the sideline or in the background. I did not enjoy it as much after that. (But I did manage to enjoy the trophy our team won that first season, not going to lie…)
But last week? It wasn’t like that.
Last week, there was the deadening thump of the ball smacking me in the chest and coming to a complete stop. My husband said, “what the heck was that?!” and then… there was laughter! From me and everyone else. It was pretty dang funny. But to be perfectly honest, so was running into the picnic table at McLain and tripping over my own feet to test out my knee pads in Maryland. But I had a hard time laughing at “embarrassing” things then because I was so concerned about my “image.”
Here’s the image I would prefer, and the one I aim to cultivate these days: to be the girl whose not afraid to make a mistake while trying her best, and to be able to laugh with things go embarrassingly wrong. I’m so glad you’re laughing with me! Because my special ability to turn any situation into an awkward situation really makes for some excellent blog fodder.
Speaking of awkward… had a follow-up appointment with my personal gastroenterologist / professional client today. (That’s the guy I said I would never be able to look in the eye again.) Turns out, anesthesia is a good thing, and I don’t remember enough to even bother being embarrassed. Yes!!