Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Ninja Education

When I was a little tiny girl, I took ballet lessons. I wore my pink tutu, donned my pink slippers, and learned to dance under the careful instruction of Mrs. Waddle. No joke. I don't remember her very well...but I remember my two years of ballet lessons.

Fast-forward a few short years to when I played indoor soccer with the rest of the little girls. I was terrible at it. I remember one time when I had a chance to make a goal... it was so close. I stood there for a second (though it seemed longer in my childish mind) wondering what to do. I had the ball (me! It was nothing short of a miracle that I had the soccer ball). I could see my talented teammate (in reality, she may have been awful. I just remember her being "cool"). I could hear Mom and Dad's excited voices telling me to go for it. Kick the ball into the goal! Score a point! Go! Fight! Win! ... and call me when you get back darling, I enjoy our visits... Oh, right, Edna hadn't been created in all of her animated glory at that point. I tell ya, the 90's were some sad times.

Suffice it to say that it was all a bit to much for my brain at that point in my life and so I just passed the ball to the "cool" girl and never made a goal. At the end of the season, my coaches gave me the award for "Cheering On My Teammates".

I don't want to talk about it.

Move forward in time to Jr. High Sports Camp. I didn't like basketball or soccer that much. Archery... frisbee.... meh. I liked volleyball. I still like volleyball. But just because I liked it didn't mean I had skill. And I didn't have skill. I also got the "Encouragement Award" for volleyball.

Now, in my second year at college, I did the unthinkable. In spite of my history with athletics and how I have never taken sports seriously... I signed up for a Judo class.

"I'll be a ninja!" the little Optimist inside of my head laughed.

"You'll get your butt kicked," said the Pessimist.

"But in the end, I'll be a ninja. Like Jackie Chan. Like in the movies Karate Kid and Kung Fu Panda. Just you wait," smiled the Optimist.

"You're terrible at athletics. Can you even do ten push-ups in a row?" sneered the Pessimist.

The Optimist was lost in a daydream about my future ninja skills.

Now, at this point you are probably thinking, "Is it really like that in your head?"

I plead the fifth.

On with my fascinating narrative:

As if only to continue my ridiculous career in athletics, Charlie Brown showed up to teach Judo on the first day of school.

Not even joking.

His personality is a bit more gruff than that sweet lovable kid we all know in his striped shirt and his one curly hair. However, in keeping with the spirit of the comic strip, the "Sensei" likes to watch us fall over a lot. I know how to fall over forwards, sideways, and backwards.

I also know how to pin someone down, how to off-balance someone on their knees and how to "sweep the leg"... for all of you Psych fans out there, "Sweep the leg, Gus! Why do you never sweep the leg?"

Unfortunately, the Sensei being as he is an athletic sort of man has decided that we need to be fit as well. A few of his favorite ways to achieve that end are push-ups (no, I can't do ten in a row), sit-ups, and of course, that sacred tool of all athletic sadists: Wind-sprints.

"Five each!" he said.

"Okay," said the Optimist, "That's not too bad."

"Yes it is," groaned the Pessimist.

The Optimist started to reply, but just then, the Pessimist was proved right. "Five" doesn't mean "Five" in gym language apparently. I always thought that five meant, well, five. You know: one, two, three, four, five. It makes sense in Japanese too: ichi, ni, san, yon, go. After all, math is the universal language, right? Wrong. Not in the gym. Not according to the Sensei. According to him, five means fifteen.




I'm not going to lie. I really like Judo. For the first time in the past.... Decade??? I like a sport.

But I hate push-ups and wind-sprints.

With a fury.

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