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309/365 – 8 Events That Ruined Sports (for me)
© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. 1013352_48f7_625x1000

309/365 – 8 Events That Ruined Sports (for me)

I got a chance to watch the women’s Olympic marathon today.  Impressive!  It made me miss the days when I really enjoyed watching the Olympics.  I know! Surprise, surprise, surprise!

See, I run often.  I used to run about a 7.30 mile.  I was decent.  Some people would say that I was athletic.  They are wrong.  I’ve always been somewhat an athletic retard.  At least with team sports.  I never really had a lot of luck with it.  It’s probably one of the reasons I have such animosity towards athletes.   I just never could get the hang of certain sports and maybe that has turned my jealously into a sort of hatred.  An “if I can’t do it then why should I support it” mentality.

I feel the same way about beauty pageants.

But here’s the deal . . . I’ve tried.  Really.  I tried to be an athlete when I was growing up.  But when you add up the fails, it no wonder I’m not watching Monday Night Football all fall.  So, I give you the 8 events that ruined sports for me.

1. THE ONE ARMED BANDIT

If there was one sport I really excelled at it was swimming.  By the time I got to high school, I was doing a 50 meter freestyle in about 21 seconds.  I’ll get to that later.  The start of my swimming career wasn’t so hot.  It all started with my first 25 meter freestyle event when I was about 5 or 6.  My dad has video of it — this tiny little toe-head kicking his feet like a motorized flapper . . . determination and glory written all over my face . . . and only one arm in motion.  For some reason, my right hand was making the full windmill motion, but my left arm just limped along, the elbow barely breaking the surface of the water.  I looked like I had been stricken with Bells Palsy.

Don’t forget last place trophies in kid’s swimming events.

I eventually got better, but this even never escaped me.  My family loved making fun of me for that.  Then, one year, at the city meet, I got 2nd place in the boys 10 and under  50 meter freestyle!

There was only two kids swimming in the event.

2. CO-ED SOCCER

I was on a co-ed soccer team when I was about 6.  I was pretty bad.  But, then again, I was 6.  So lay off!

I don’t care if Pele was good at 6. He’s probably a robot for all we know.

I never really amounted to much as a soccer player. I usually sat in the grass and waited for the ball to come down field.  I was a full back, never really good enough to be in the ranks of the real kickers.

During the last game of the season, I was close to the opposing goal.  One of my team mates was with me . . . I don’t remember her name . . . let’s call her Satan.  So, Satan and I were standing alone.  The ball was at our goal and both teams were struggling in that spastic 6 year old way to get a goal or block it.  Suddenly, someone kicked the ball way down field and it landed just in front of the opposing team’s goal.  His fullbacks had decided to move all the way upfield to score a goal against us.  So it’s just me, Satan and the opposing goalie.

I think this child’s drawing pretty much sums up the situation.

There’s only 10 seconds left in the game.  We both take off like stallions in a civil war charge.  Well, I was a stallion.  She was a horseman of the apocalypse.  Running our little lungs out, we reach the ball at the exact same time.  I’m right footed.  She’s left footed.  Amazingly, we kick the ball at the same time . . . I mean it was really an act of synchronization you’d only see in a pee-wee soccer game . . . GOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!  The horn blows.  Game over.

This is what should have happened. Me: David Beckham. Her: A bitch in a pink dress.

You have to remember – Little Timmy Tamisiea hadn’t scored a goal all season.  This was HUGE.  It wouldn’t win the game or anything.  It was just an extra point, but it was everything to me . . . In fact, to this day I couldn’t tell you who won.  See, as we’re running back to our team, we stop and I look at her, raise my hand for a high five and scream, “We both got the goal!”  She instantly pushes me down, points at me and grunts, “No!  I got the goal!”  Then she runs back to the team, leaving me in the dust.

3 -KARATE

When I was about 8 or 9, my best friend, Kelly Shetlar, was joining a karate class.  He wanted me to come along.

I can still imagine how the art of karate would have given me confidence, patience and discipline.  Think of the man I would have been today if Karate had been there for me.  Nothing would get to me.  I’d be a Bonzai tree, bending with the wind.  Anxiety would be just a medical term I heard once.  And I could push people’s pressure points in self defense, like some martial arts master . . .

Today, I’d probably look a lot like this.

Instead . . . when Kelly’s dad called my mom to get me signed up, she refused.  She thought it would be too dangerous, that I’d get hurt.  I was devastated.  First of all, karate, to a 8 year old, is like crack.  Seriouly.  Kiddy crack all decked out with sprinkles.  Denying any kid the chance to do Karate is like saying Santa Claus exists but he also hate your guts.

Secondly, karate is not all about kicking some other guys butt.  It is an art form that grants its users character.  Mom, I just wanted character.  Look at me now – some characterless, undisciplined weakling.

4 – BASEBALL GOLF

 

That same year, Kelly’s dad wanted me to play baseball.  I was psyched.  Couldn’t wait to try hanging with all the cool kids.  Eating Big League Chew, battin’ them outta the park, wearing unflattering uniforms.

This could’ve been my hero.

BUT, there must have been something in the back of Mr. Shetlar’s head that warned him about my lack of hand/eye coordination.  Instead of just trying out, he took me to the local baseball diamond to hit a few on my own.

My first mistake?  “Tim!  You’re not playing golf.  Hold the bat like a normal person.”  Yeah, I was swinging the bat like a golf club.  I DIDN’T KNOW.  My dad didn’t play catch with me — he showed me the various ventricles of the heart.  I didn’t watch baseball.  I watched Doctor Who.  LAY OFF!

Thanks for backing me up, Doctor.

My second mistake.  Mr. Shetlar purposely threw a ball towards my shoulder to see if I would move.  I didn’t.  It was at that point that he realized I wasn’t cut out for baseball . . . I also realized he probably wasn’t going to take me to the tryouts.

5 – THE BENCH WARMER

I played basketball for the 7th and 8th grade teams at Mary Our Queen Catholic school.  I was not very good.  I was fast and pretty good at assists, but when ever I had a shot, I choked.  Bad.  I just had awful aiming.  Piss poor.  But I played all throughout grade school.  I really loved playing basketball . . . it even got me to watch the NBA.  For awhile at least.

Until basketball gave me nightmares.

My dad was really busy, so he could only attend a few of my games a year.  When he could make a game, I was so excited.  My 8th grade year, he could only make two games . . . and both games were coached by Mr. Kwietek, (Johnny Kweet for short) . . . and both games I sat the bench.

See, the last game my dad could come to, I sat next to coach Johnny Kweet the entire game.  All of my friends had come.  The crowd was huge.  But most important, my dad was there.  The whole game, Johnny kept leaning over me to call in my fellow teammates.  Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.  After awhile, some of my friends got the crowd to chant, “Put Tim in!  Put Tim in!”

Nothing.

By the time the buzzer rang, I never left my position on the bench.  I never got in the game. It was a grade school basketball game for crying out loud — no stakes.  What the hell?  I was devastated. Ii just wanted my dad to see me play.  I walked out of the locker room, completely dry because . . . well, I didn’t have a lot pf physical activity going on that night.  Johnny approached me, put his hand on my shoulders and said, “Sorry Tim, I guess I just didn’t see you.”

What’s a kid to do? Gain 400 punds for you to start to notice?

Didn’t see me?  DIDN’T SEE ME!  I WAS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU THE WHOLE GAME!  You smelly armpit kept brushing against my head every time you called in a new player.  As 12 year old, my thoughts were, “You fucking piece of shit ass muncher.  Fuck you!  Fuck your son (who played the whole game) and fuck your flimsy ass lies!  Didn’t see me.  Can you see this? [holding up my middle finger].

Yeah, kid? Where were you when I needed you?

Of course, I didn’t say that.  I just said, “That’s okay,” as I walked tout of the gym.  My dad cheered me up by telling me that he had a coach in grade school who gave him a hard time when he was too weak to play well . . . and my dad HAD JUST GOTTEN OVER POLIO.  Fuck grade school coaches.

Jesus, kid! Run faster! FASTER!

6 – FIRST AIN’T GOOD ENOUGH

As I said when I started this post, I was one hell of a swimmer.  I could have been a state championship swimmer had I stuck with it.  Unfortunately, my past failures weakened my resolve.  My freshman year of high school I joined the Creighton Prep Swim Team.  I wasn’t the best freshman swimmer, but I was good.  And my times slowly improved over the season.

The problem was that we had a coach who was very selective of with his focus.  We had some dynamos on this team — and the coach chose to consistently focus on those swimmer.  Swimmers who didn’t need the attention.  I had great potential but was pretty much ignored .  He never encouraged me.  He never gave me feedback.  Still, I swam my ass off.

Hey coach! Look at me! Coach! Over here!

When it came to the State semi finals, I was so ready to swim.  I had endured 5:30 am practices, 5 days a week for months.  I had endured evening practices 5 days a week, for months.  I had tolerated hazing and teasing by senior members of the team.  Nothing could keep me from qualifying for the 50 meter freestyle.

Except my coach.

There was one spot left for that event.  My time was around 21.2 seconds.  I was so close to 20.  Instead, he gave the spot to this kid Sean; another freshman who’s best time for the 50 freestyle was . . . get this . . . 29 seconds.  T-W-E-N-T-Y  N-I-N-E SECONDS.

That’s like asking this guy to race in the event . . . when his competition is drying off in the locker room.

When I asked him why, he skirted the question and offered me a spot for the 200 Individulal Medley.  I couldn’t swim backstroke to save my life and he gave me a spot on the medley?

Needless to say, I disqualified because I CAN’T SWIM BACKSTROKE.  I missed the wall on my turn and hit the bottom of the pool.  I didn’t come back to the team my sophomore year.  I tried, but I couldn’t swim for someone who ignored my potential.

7 – AUXILIARY PLAYER

This story of sports woe is actually pretty funny.  After swimming failed me, I decided to play intramural basket ball with some of my pals.  This consisted of basketball games during lunch referred by the gym teacher.  The winner of the tournament won t-shirts or something.  I don’t know.  I was just happy my friends asked me to play.

It was between me and these twerps . . . so, you know.

I played two years with this team – we were called The Happy Wackers.  How that slipped past the Catholic censors of Creighton Prep I’ll never know.  I had to abide by two and only two rules.  These were set up by the team and I never argued them — probably because by this time in my athletic career, I was resigned to the fact I would never be very good at sports.

Rule 1 – Timmy can only go in when the team is 10 points ahead.

Rule 2 – When Timmy is in, he can only stand under the opposing team’s basket.

I became somewhat of a mascot for the team.  Other teams would come watch us play because we were good, and I was a spectacle.  I didn’t care because the team abided by these rules.  Meaning, when we were 10 points ahead, they always let me in.  Always.  So I did get to play.  Take that Johnny Kweet.

Can you see me now, Johnny? . . . No, I’m in the crowd. I’m not black. Idiot.

One game, I somehow got ahold of the ball.  There was only 10 seconds on the clock and both teams just cleared a path and let me dribble it to the free throw line where I shot it . . . and missed.  My team rebounded, passed it back to me and . . .   I missed.  My team got it again . . . I missed again.  The other team then rebounded and gave it to me . . . Again, I missed.  This happed about 6 or seven times till I got a shot.  Everyone cheered.  It was cool.

8 – RACE CLASS

My junior year of high school I decided I to try track and field.  My good buddy, Joel Frenzer, convinced me to come down to the locker room for a team meeting.  There I would sign up and start practicing with the team.
I was really excited.  I mean, this was like swimming.  No hand eye coordination.  No aiming.  Just me and and myself against the world, running like the wind from an explosion.

Just like Tom Cruise . . . without the Scientology.

When I got to the locker room, the coach, Mr. Groff, was handing out info sheets . . . He wouldn’t give me one.  People kept filing past me, getting sheets.  But not me.  He just wouldn’t give me one.  He asked, “What do you want, Tamisiea?”  “I want to run.”  You know what he said?
“Yeah, right, get out of here.”
I was floored.  Joel was floored.  I said, “I’m serious.  I want to join the track team. Ask Joel.”  Joel confirmed my intent.  “Do you have shoes?”  “Not today — I thought this was just an information meeting.”  “Fine,” he said, “get in there.”
But, he would not give me an info sheet.  Finally he said, “Get out of here.  You’re not joining the team.”  I looked at Joel and he was speechless.  To this day, I am the only person to ever be cut from the Creighton Prep track team. According to Mr. Groff, I was a jokester and he didn’t think I was serious.  Ass hole.
The silver lining of that story was I joined the Rugby team instead.  A fledgling team coached by two Creighton University rugby players.  And let me tell you, I was like Scrappy Doo – I was small but had a lot of spirit . . . and it was because the coaches really wanted us to respect and enjoy the game — to teach us to love it.
And guess what, we won state.  So there.  I’m a state championship athlete!

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