I come from a family of completely coordinated individuals with plenty of athletic ability. My brother played basketball, skateboarded & rode/raced motorcycles, my dad rides anything with two wheels, and my mom played softball, basketball, AND she cheered. I participated in cheer, dance, and gymnastics when I was little, but it’s as though God gave me a double dose of sarcasm in place of hand-eye coordination. It’s important that you know that before I tell the rest of the story.
Just in case you need any anecdotal proof, any time we played volleyball in 6th grade PE, I nailed the same kid in the face with the ball every. single. time. I served. I once tripped over my own foot on my way to first base during a game of mat ball the same year, hit the ground, and literally dragged myself across the floor. (I didn’t get tagged out though!) In high school PE, the coach completely gave up on me and allowed some friends and me to play badminton while the rest of the class participated in the planned activity. Despite all of this, my poor, poor mother still agreed to play racquetball with me when we had a membership at our local YMCA.
Let it be known that I mostly just hurt myself. Every other time we played racquetball, we were in the room that had the smaller door of the two available. It kind of reminded me of something from Alice in Wonderland because it was smaller than usual and had a tiny window that provided privacy so that people lurking in the hall outside couldn’t see me flailing all over the room. On this particular occasion, our usual room was already occupied and we were forced to play in the second room: the completely glass door. The match was going no differently than usual -I whacked myself in the back of the leg with my racquet multiple times, tripped, etc. Then I noticed that there were people in the hallway outside observing our game, and that simply wouldn’t do.
My mother had instructed me, warned, really, that I had to stay in front of her at all times in order to prevent further instances of me hitting her in the back of the head with the ball. Needless to say, I had forgotten the rule and I was behind her getting ready to serve when I noticed the people in the hallway. I stared them down, hoping they would leave as I served the ball while still staring at the strangers. If they weren’t watching before, they definitely were at that point because I recognized the solid thud of the ball making contact with my mom. I had served the ball without even looking where I was hitting it and somehow managed to hit my mom’s face. When I whipped my head around to see what I’d done, she was standing there, head down with her hand covering what appeared to be her nose and she did not look happy.
I immediately began apologizing, “I’m SO sorry mom! Here, you can punch me in the nose so that we’re even! I’M SO SORRY!”
At that point, she looked up at me and jerked her index finger towards her face to indicate that I had not actually gotten her nose. Instead, she pointed to a rainbow-shaped welt that connected her eyebrows, “You didn’t get my nose! You hit me between the eyes!”
Interesting that the kid with no aim somehow managed to hit her own mother square between the eyes when she wasn’t even looking. Mom didn’t appreciate the humor at that point, however, and she declared our game over at that exact moment. She walked out of the Y with her hand covering her inflamed forehead and instructed me to sign us out. In case you were wondering, it was sore for several days.
And no one has played racquetball with me since.