I think I’ve embarrassed myself in almost every sport

Yesterday I was thinking about the MOST EMBARRASSING sports fail in my entire 39-year life. It was so bad… the kind of thing you’d see in a movie or in a YouTube video, like this.


Thankfully no one was recording me, so I’ll just have to tell you how it went down…

I was playing soccer, a sport I love to play. But I was playing a position I wasn’t cut out for: goalie. Yikes! So that already made me uncomfortable, plus I only knew one person on the team so I felt like I had a lot to live up to with all the teammates who probably expected me to help them win. Help them win, meaning stop the ball when someone kicks it towards the goal. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, just hold your horses right there!

One time someone kicked the ball from about mid-field. Not a hard kick, but it had some leg behind it. I was all alone since both teams were still mostly on the other end of the field. As the ball rolled towards me, I had zero pressure to do anything athletic. And “not do anything athletic” is exactly what I did! I remember thinking, “Oh man, I’m going to knock this ball so far.” I was so proud of myself for what I was about to do, the team would love me for it. They would carry me off the field on their shoulders. High fives all around. Tell their grandchildren about what their goalie did that day.

Well, they probably WILL still their family what happened… I moved towards the ball and engaged my kick approach. Head down. A few steps, then boom with the left foot…

In my defense, the field was really rough, so the ball was bouncy. So bouncy that when I made a swift kick, I came into contact with nothing. Nothing at all. Air. The stupid bouncing ball had bounced OVER my stupid foot! Embarrassing, right? Well, not as embarrassing as the ball bouncing over my foot AND rolling into the goal. Yep. That’s exactly what happened on the worst day of my sporting career.

I can’t ever show my face at the Donelson YMCA soccer fields again.

via Giphy.com

Other bad days include a critical “go on two” false start in flag football, an “I got up too quick from a slide” in softball where I got up too quick and fell backwards, another softball blooper where I slid head first into first base and was called out because I never actually reached the base, and my entire middle school basketball career was minutes long because my coach only played me a few minutes each game– entirely embarrassing! I still have room for other sports like volleyball, baseball (although I might have a story to share about that later), tennis, and maybe running.

Please don’t judge me. But I will accept any empathy from you, dear reader.

-Out of the Wilderness

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20 reasons I was single in my 20s, plus a few more

During my senior year of high school, I started compiling a list of things I’d love to have in a mate. The list started with broad characteristics that were must-haves. Things like Christian, patient, good listener, thoughtful. Had the list stopped there, that would’ve been great. It’s smart to have some sort of criteria when seeking a friend for the end of the world. More specifically, a best friend to spend the rest of my life with. But the list didn’t end there. It went on. And on. And on. A total of 45 things I wrote down that defined who it was I was looking for. No prob. No prob? Yeah right… no wonder I’ve been single for so long!

I don’t think there’s ever been a woman on earth that could measure up to that list.

I might as well have created her from a computer, like these guys did. But Kelly LeBrock aside, this “perfect girl” isn’t out there. A girl I was dating years ago surmised that (and this is as we were breaking up) I’m looking for someone just like me. Mostly because of how and when it was presented, I became defensive. But she was right. Now comparing her comments to the list from high school, I’m about to blow your mind, so make sure you’re sitting down for this.

The list isn’t who I was looking for, the list is who I wanted to be.

Booya. Mic drop. You’ve been served. Insert any other overused phrase here. Even as I sit here typing I’m looking at this decades-old list and it’s blowing my mind. All these things I wrote down are either characteristics I already have, or ones I’m striving towards. If there were a girl out there that had all these qualities, I don’t think I’d fall in love with her. I think I’d be super jealous of her!

Then it makes sense that what I’m looking for in a mate now, now that I’m in my 30s and so much wiser and so much more mature, are much less specific. Less specific and not about me!

I look forward to finding this person. That is, if God’s ideas for me include a woman that can put up with a guy who made a list in high school of 45 things about her that’s really about him but at least he didn’t try to make her on a computer but maybe that was only because he didn’t know how because he was more into playing sports than computer programming.

-Out of the Wilderness

Will You Accept This Prose?

If dating were only as easy as The Bachelor makes it seem! The show is more of a scientific experiment than it is a true attempt at finding love. That’s why when you include the unknown variable, the X factor called “life,” the experiment most often blows up.

Jake Pavelka

If you can prove the success rate of that show is higher than the number of Yanni discs you have in your collection, then I will be a little more optimystique (optimism + still a little confused on where they mysteriously find the contestants for The Bachelor). Until then, I will have the sincerest devotion to the old-fashioned romantic moments I hear about when my parents or grandparents tell me how their stories began.

In my time, though, dating is a little different from theirs. Only slightly different because although the form or fashion in which relationships happen has changed dramatically (with the onslaught of social sites on the internet, ability to travel great distances quickly, revolution in sound technology, and, oh yeah, the internet!), the fundamentals of solid dating relationships remain the same: communication, common interests, mutual friends, keys to imagination and similar world views. The Bachelor includes one, maybe two of these fundamentals, and therefore, is starting behind the eight ball from the very beginning. The reason the success rate’s extremely low is because the relationships are formed in a controlled environment, just like an experiment. Once the show is over and the elements are introduced into the “real world,” the variables can no longer be controlled. Variables like career goals, family, location, ethnicity, and many more. To further my argument that dating is much harder than The Bachelor reveals, I give you… exhibit A: High School Ben Wilder.

My dating life got off to a slow start and to be perfectly honest, my first real kiss was in 10th grade. If I could tell you that secret with little to no embarrassment, then I’ve made progress in the 15 years gone by since. I often refer to my high school love life as “the private years” but again, to be perfectly honest, shrouding those years in privacy makes my love life sound so much more mysterious and exciting than it actually was. Tracy the softball player*. That’s who I kissed. Out of silence my love life burst into song!

Whether we were listening to “Sukiyaki” by 4 P.M. or the best of Yanni at the time, I can’t say. I was just happy it happened. A quick encouragement to readers patiently awaiting their first kiss: Hang in there and dare to dream!

To sum up, I hope these personal reflections of passion (I wouldn’t call my example of dating passionate, actually) help to prove the point that in dating, as in real life, sometimes you got to learn the hard way, not the live-on-television way. And yes I’m talking to you, too, Jake Pavelka. Vienna? Really? Reconsider Sheila Lidner (or return to suprise Ali Fedotowsky this season) before you tell Vienna, in one of your best Yanni voices, “niki nana.” However, if you end up marrying Vienna I’ll make a toast in celebration of life… and I’ll look up and whistle while I’m walking.

*I refer to Tracy’s love life in high school as “the chameleon days,” because I later found out she is now a lesbian. Hope it wasn’t because of me!