Friday, November 7, 2003

"So, why IS there a quarter in your scrapbook?"

There's a quarter in my scrapbook.  Taped in there, from a day in Junior High School.  It had special significance for me then.  What's so remarkable about it, I think, is that I realized at the time how significant it would be.

It is, very simply, the only thing I ever won for athletic ability.

Not entirely true.  Looking back over my "School Days" book, I see a certificate for "3rd Place Batting" in my Elementary School's Third Grade Games.  Kinda funny how that one came about.  They had contests running simultaneously in all sorts of different sports.  I hadn't even signed up for batting.  Then, all of a sudden, someone told me there were only two kids entered in that one.  I'd never swung a bat before in my life, but, hey, whack a ball off a tee, get a certificate.

And years later, I got myself trophies from two figure skating competitions.  A first place and a second place!  Woo-hoo!  Just don't ask me how many people I was skating against.  Yeppers.  Dead last each time.

But my quarter... 

Back in Junior High School, we had to do that damn Presidential Physical Fitness thing.  I never did well enough on any of the exercises to win the little badge -- with one notable exception.  The chair push-ups.  I could do the requisite number of chair push-ups and then some.  I could do chair push-ups till the cows came home, got milked, and went out again.  What I'm trying to say here is chair push-ups, I could do.

And, like any good athlete, I thought, "there must be a way to turn this ability into profit."  There was.  Nobody else in class thought I could do chair push-ups.  Why should they?  I was a nerd who had never demonstrated any athletic ability -- there was certainly no reason to believe I could do chair push-ups.  So I found me a likely candidate and suggested that perhaps I could do more chair push-ups than she could.  And how'd she like to put a little money on it?  Say, perhaps, a quarter?

I think she gave up around 18.  I went to 20, just so there'd be no doubt.

And then I took the quarter home and taped it in my scrapbook, realizing it was the only thing I'd ever actually won for athletic ability and assuming -- quite correctly -- that it would likely remain the only thing I ever actually won for athletic ability.


mdkjic said...

Wow! I've got to say, I can't even do one regular push-up. I am seriously impressed with your ability! I wish I would have taken the time to save my one athletic award in my scrapbook...oh wait...I've never won an award. Good reading by the way!

andreakingme said...

Well, you got me beat by two skating rinks widths. And then some. Like I said in one of your earlier entries, I don't even do jumping jacks.

I ride an ellipses machine. And sit.

somenuttychic said...

Athletics? What's THAT? I think I loathe playing sports even more than I loathe watching them. Not that I fault anyone who loves them -- it's just not me. But what you have is even better than major athletic achievement: the ability to tell a story and tell it well. Keep 'em coming!

rbushu said...

Do you remember the arm hang? Not quite a chin up because you didn't go up and down, just hung suspended with elbows bent, chin above the bar. I was the nerdy back-brace girl and guess what? Part of my physical therapy was to hang suspended from a bar my parents installed in our basement. I kicked butt in that event and put the class jock to SHAME. I wasn't even twitchy in the head-to-head final round. A shining moment I had forgetten till just now. Thanks for bringing it back to me!

slowmotionlife said...

Oh wow... I never won anything for athletic ability. I was always the nerd who won the occasional spelling bee and short story contest. Oh, how I wish I could throw a softball or do pull ups. Instead, you'd find me cowering in fear from fly balls and hiding behind the bleachers half the time so the coach wouldn't see me. I don't really miss those days at all! At all! Great entry! I'll be back!

hillareeday said...

I love this story!
I also had a stint with softball one season. I was out in left field literally (and figuratively!) My shining moment? The ball finally came to me, I grabbed it up and threw it with all of my might to the third zipped right past her and into a trash can nearby. I guess you could say I provided the comic relief for the team from that moment on!

hempenhomespun said...

A quarter?! Come on, you could have taken that kid for a whole DOLLAR!
Great story!

nikki247 said...

awwww! I could never do that damn Presidential Fitness Test either. I was a fat kid in junior high. Who can do pull ups when they weigh a ton? My grandmother ended up putting me on the slimfast diet in seventh grade, just in time for my growth spurt. Then I was underweight. I wish I could go back to THOSE days!