The Clumsy Athlete’s Memoir

I found this essay from my Creative Writing Non-Fiction Class from Fall Semester 2011. It still hits me deep down. “Crazy Legs” forever!

“Your new name is crazy legs.” That was the consensus of my lacrosse team after I fell for at least the fourth time in one hour of practice. Although it is a joke on me, I would also personally consider myself one of the top contenders for clumsiest person in the world. If I was compared to Steve Urkel the judging would be very difficult.

I can’t say I’ve been an athlete all my life, but I did try at quite a few sports. I sadly failed at all, except one, mostly because my coordination was very off. Little league tee-ball didn’t go so well when my coaches and I began to notice the trouble I had hitting the large, white, completely visible ball off the tall, steady tee. It came to a point where picking the ball up off the tee and throwing it would have been more successful.

Soccer was an enjoyable experience… for the onlookers watching me. Most attempts to kick the ball ended either with me flat on my back or, instead of launching a ball through the sky, my shoe was airborne. Needles to say I didn’t make it past the first week of “kiddie soccer” because even in a youth program, I just wasn’t keeping up.

I even gave tennis a try when I was a little older. I made the team, played first doubles and even won a few matches… on junior varsity in eleventh grade while the other girls my age excelled on the varsity team. I wasn’t able to play senior year because as a senior you had to be on varsity and I just wasn’t good enough to make the cut. Tennis even gave me my first injury, a sprained ankle due to running sideways in a failed attempt to hit the ball.  I will never forget that loud crack followed by a moment of disbelief and extreme pain while I laughed my way off the court; just another clumsy moment for Sara.

Somehow after all the grass stains on the rear ends of my uniforms, the little league bats that were given away, and crutches that I never wore, I found my way to lacrosse. At first I was convinced this would be just another sport that my uncontrollable legs and lack of coordination would yet again fail me in. However, I came to find out that lacrosse was the one sport in which, at times, I could use my spastic legs as an advantage.

Being “spazzy” wasn’t such a problem on the lacrosse field. In lacrosse, an attacker must be able to fool her defender and juke from left and/or right to fly by them and score. I was in luck! My legs went whatever way they wanted and there was no way that the defender was going to be able to tell which way I was going when I barely knew myself. I must say, my legs aren’t weak but rather I like to say they have a mind of their own. I excelled in a midfield position because I was fast and I was able to get up and down the field quickly enough and sometimes my erratic legs would bring me straight past defenders and then it was just up to my hand-eye coordination to finish with a goal. I admit that I still find myself falling quite a few times on both the practice and game field, but I’m able to get right back up, only slipping a few more times before I’m standing again.

I was lucky enough to have found a way to use my “crazy legs” to my advantage. Finding lacrosse was extremely beneficial for my future considering it helped me financially get through college. Some people may consider my clumsiness a major setback, as did I at one point in my life, but I have come to accept it as a personal trait that portrays my personality. I would have given anything for more poise and composure, but after a total of three sprained ankles, shin splints leaving permanent calcium deposits on my shins eventually leading to a stress fracture, tendinitis in my Achilles tendons, and a pulled quad or two I have come to find that although my legs have a mind of their own, they get me where I need to go in life no matter how many times I may trip and fall along the way. My spastic legs are a trait of mine that I’ve come to accept will probably never go away no matter how many extra lunges I do at the gym. I still continue to work hard and at least the next time I fall, you’ll see the strength in my “crazy legs” when I jump back up.

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