By: Brad Manock
I am a fairly competitive person. I am awesome at things people don’t care about however I am awful at things people do care about. Foosball and air hockey are two games where I am awesome and rarely lose, unfortunately people do not care about foosball and air hockey. I am awful at football, basketball, and baseball. In other words the things that people DO care about. For me, you can calculate how good I am at something if you know how much people care about that thing. The better I am at something, the less people care about it. I remember as a kid I would be pressured into joining sports that I was awful at, all the while quietly wondering “why the fuck isn’t pokemon a sport or anything else I am actually good at?!” In this article I will discuss team sports from the perspective of an extremely awkward person.
Why Do People Care About Things I’m Awful At?
I never watched sports growing up, while my family was watching the football game on Sundays I would go play some video games. To me sports were always the thing that the douchy red-neck kids would do. If we were in gym class and we were playing flag football, I would always be a receiver. I never had the ball thrown my way; I never played quarterback, heck I never even played center. Think about that for a second, I was so un-coordinated growing up that my team would not even trust me to snap the ball accurately, so I was just a receiver or more accurately a “distraction” that would run in circles.
Basketball was another cluster-fuck of a sport that I didn’t really understand. I would jog slowly up and down the court for the whole class and never touch the ball once, then after gym class I would still be the sweatiest kid. On the rare occasion that I did have the ball I would always break some obscure rule. The only rule in basketball I knew at that point was “put the ball in the basket.” I would dribble the ball, pick it up, and dribble it again; at that point all the kids on the opposing team would yell out “double dribble!” For the longest time I felt like they were just making shit up on the spot to make me look like a moron. If I had the ball and the opponents yelled out “marshmallow feet! the ball is ours!” I would have assumed that I broke some other stupid obscure rule that I did not understand and would just go along with it.
My least favorite sport was always, and continues to be, baseball. Baseball is for people who are extremely coordinated and have long attention spans. I have neither of those requirements. When we played baseball in gym class the team that I would end up on would always try to make sure I did not ever have to touch the ball. I would always end up being outfielder because the ball rarely flew further then the infield during a game of gym class baseball. Every once in a while though I would be standing in the outfield, and a ball would come flying my way. By this time the game had been going on long enough that I had completely lost focus and was daydreaming about other stuff. Of course the baseball would land right near me and all of the kids would scream at me to throw the ball to the infield. This always made me look like even more of a fat piece of shit because I “didn’t even try” to catch the ball.
Joining The Football Team
I never did a “real” sport until I joined the football team as a freshman in high school. This was a disaster because I never watched football and didn’t really understand the rules, I was just tired of being a fat piece of shit and thought to myself “hey football is one of those things the cool kids do.” Because hey at least it wasn’t baseball. I had assumed that the first day of practice the coaches would sit the team down and really explain the rules and how the game works, nope, onto the field for practice and if you don’t know the rules then fuck you.
By the way there were no tryouts for sports at my school; it was a small enough school that anyone that said they wanted to be on the football team would just show up and then they were on the team. It was inconceivable to these people that someone could live in the United States for 14 years of life and not know every single detail of the rules of football. There were several rules that I learned during the first couple weeks of football.
– If you’re playing offensive line you have to protect the guy with the ball AND not “hold” any opposing player. Also Offensive linemen are not allowed to run down the field for a pass.
– If you’re playing defense and you get past the offensive lineman you do NOT have to count to “3 Mississippi” before trying to tackle the quarterback.
– If anybody gets past the offensive line at all and ruins the play then everyone blames the uncoordinated and awkward kid no matter which lineman actually missed a block.
Once we started playing actual games I noticed one more odd aspect about football. You had to be pumped up to play football, the kids would bring the stereo and they would all sometimes come up to me and say “you fuckin pumped Brad!?” Which I replied “yes” of course that was never good enough for them. I am a very mellow person and it was extremely awkward having all these kids you don’t really like any ways jump around you and try to get you “pumped.” For these kids football was a huge part of life and if you were not as excited as they were then they would get personally offended; saying I wasn’t pumped for a football game would have been about the same as saying “fuck you.” These kids had been looking forward to these football games for so long; meanwhile I was a fish out of water just trying not to embarrass myself too bad.