Posts Tagged ‘sports deficient’

I have a birth defect. I was born without the sports gene.

Yes, thank you for your feelings of sympathy. Yes, it is quite a burden, especially for one living in America where sport is so culturally significant. When I lived in Jerusalem, where our main worries were about bombs on buses and where a Hail Mary was something altogether different, I felt more at ease. In Israel, I didn’t feel the constant pressure, the communal fever, the whiplash from elation to devastation that comes from having to follow and support my local team to the Finals, the Series, the Superbowl. I could relax. When I returned to America, arriving in late December during the hyperbolic run up to Xmas and the Superbowl, I experience a deep and disturbing culture shock.

As a child, I did my best at sports, though my heart was not in it. I was quite an active young boy, but my vision was poor, I played the violin, and I liked to read. Yes, as you can imagine, it was a cruel, cruel childhood when it came to sports. I was the boy picked next to last–right before the kid with the brace on his leg and right after the kid with the cast on his arm. The importance of sport in American culture was drilled into me again and again.

I played in the organized games, when required. Four-square was my best event, as the distances were short and the ball was large enough for me to see (I didn’t get spectacles until fifth grade). I remember one day, having been impressed into a softball game, that I got lost on the way to first base. The memory could be bitter, but I choose not to remember the fact that I couldn’t see well enough to navigate the 90 feet to reach the white bag on the ground; I choose instead to remember that I actually hit the ball: a miracle!


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