Friday, July 01, 2005

Truths behind the Truths Part IV: Girl Guppie Origins

All right. Here it is. The last three truths...

1. I've never broken a bone. Mine or someone else's.

When I was younger, I almost sorta kinda wished I had broken a bone. Just so I could know what it felt like. Quite the silliest of silly ideas, I know. I know that if I had actually broken a limb or something I'd have regretted I'd ever sorta kinda wished for it. When I was younger I knew all this, and still I sorta kinda thought it wouldn't be all that bad a thing to break an arm. Or a leg.

It's not that I wanted to feel pain, because I've felt pain before and its no fun at all. I just wanted the experience. I wanted the knowledge of what it was like (in case, you know, one day I wanted to write about a character who'd had a broken arm/leg/pinkie/whatever.) I was curious.

And... well... yeah, having a cast that all my friends could sign was a big selling point.

*shakes head at self*

I also wanted to be able to tell the story, the story that would naturally be born from the events surrounding the break. ("This one time, at band camp...") I felt I was lacking in the Interesting Stories To Tell depart (and still do, sometimes). By interesting I mean anything remotely entertaining, even if it qualifies more under the category of Embarrassing, which is more than likely the kind of break I would have had. Or, dare I say it... still might have some day (*knocks on wood*).

No 'I fell after climbing to the top of the tree' kind of injury for me. My injury would have been of the 'I tripped while stepping off the bus' variety. Such is me and my klutzy ways.

You know what? As klutzy as I am I'm really surprised I never broke a bone. I got more than my fair share of skinned knees and scrapes and bumps and bruises and sprains etc, but never a broken bone. Is there a patron saint of clumsy people? If so, I'd like to give 'em a shout out for keepin' my bones from a snappin'.

Maybe I wanted a broken bone story because I was jealous of my mom's funny broken bone story. Funny only in hindsight, of course. And no, I no longer wish to have a 'this one time I broke my leg/arm/whatever while...' kind of story. Not in the slightest. Even one as amusing as my mom's. Amusing only in hindsight, of course. I'm sure she didn't enjoy herself at the time. Though she does say the best part about hurting herself was she got to spend the rest of the day in the nurse's office chatting with a very hunky upperclassmen. So it wasn't all bad. :)

The story is this: when my mom was a freshman (maybe sophomore) in high school, it was the first year they were going to allow girls to participate in 'rough boy sports' during P.E. class. So one day my mom (coming from the same klutzy family that I do) was playing soccer during class. She was running after the ball when all of a sudden she tripped over her own feet, fell to the ground, and used her wrists to break her fall. She broke bones in both wrists for a total of twelve broken bones. I guess you could say she sort of set the program for girls sports back a year or two. :)

Luckily it wasn't a long term effect because by the time I got to high school I could play all manner of rough sports (like water polo! woo!) One of my favorite activities during P.E. class was a lacrosse style game played with foam tipped sticks. It was immensely fun, and satisfying, having an excuse to whack people. (Which is why I think I loved water polo so much, but I digress...)

In an interesting coincidence of fate, I ended up having the same P.E. teacher my mom had that infamous twelve-bone-break year, and that teacher turned out to be one of my high school swim coaches as well. I'm glad my mom didn't scare her away from teaching. :)

2. The only time I've gotten a bloody nose is after being punched in the nose.

I know what you're all thinking. You're thinking I got in a bar fight and some skanky ho I gave a dirty look to retaliated and had her skanky ho body-builder-of-a-best-friend come over and pop me one. But you're wrong. It wasn't anything as exciting as that, which you probably knew all along if you'd read the first part of this post, or anything else on this blog, so... uh... yeah, bummer that.

After I wrote/typed the 'never broken a bone' bit for the first item on the truths/lies list, I started thinking about all the non-broken bone injuries I've had. Some of them have been sports related but luckily, none of them have been major injuries. (Though my knee is still kind of fucked up to this day, but it wasn't really from a 'sports' injury, unless you count 'running on a wet pool deck after practice' a sports injury, which I do, because it sounds better, but that's another story.)

I was poked in the eye once during a water polo game. It stung like a sumbitch but no permanent damage was done. Not even temporarily, as I had to go to practice the next morning, squinting like some kind of old person who refuses to wear glasses. The chlorine felt oh so good on my irritated eye, let me tell ya! Still, it could have been a lot worse. Someone on the guy's team got poked in the eye during a game and he had to walk around with an eye patch for a few days (or weeks? I don't really remember).

And this one time, at polo practice, I got punched in the nose! That's how I got my first and only nose bleed, from the fist of a big beefy guy as we ran a drill. It was an accident, not a provoked fight or anything exciting as that, but still, an accident that left me dazed and bloody. And, of course, it just had to happen during an early morning practice right before school. I had a bleeping headache the whole bleeping day. Well, most of the day. Okay, just until lunch. But it still really hurt for a couple hours.

So yeah, not as exciting as a bar fight, though I'm not quite willing to remedy that. I guess I'll just have to embellish it a lot before I have any grandkids I need to wow with stories of grandeur.

4. I was a competitive swimmer from the age of 6 to the age of 19.

My parents, seeing that I was already a clumsy awkward ground walker by the age of six, felt that I'd be better off in a pool than learning grace and agility in a tap dance class or a ballet class. And as much as I wish I were a ballerina, I'm thankful to them, because I was not meant to exercise on land but in the water, my natural habitat. :)

At least it was for about thirteen years of my life. I joined the local club team when I was six, which meant I practiced for two hours a day, Monday through Friday, all year long, and went to out-of-town swim meets over the weekend. And in the spring and summer, most weekends were 'swim meet weekends'. Every year, even when I was six, I went to the most swim meets out of anyone else on my team. And if not the most, I was at least second or third in 'most swim meets attended in a year'. My parents were swim meet nazis! But bless their ever-loving hearts for wanting to drive me out of town every weekend.

The plus side of competing in all these swim meets? I won a buttload of ribbons! And sometimes medals and little trophies. Though one of my favorite medals was achieved not by winning an event, but by getting up in front of everyone and telling a joke over the meet announcer's microphone. That sure was a fun swim meet. The swim meets that gave ribbons up to twelve places were also pretty cool too. Heh. Not that I got twelfth place a lot, mind you. Well, at least not when I was little.

I so kicked major swim ass when I was six. Then I turned seven and my swim career went steadily down hill from then on. When I was about 7 or 8 I joined the rinky-dink city league team (that only ran the length of summer vacation) and did both at the same time for a couple of months. It was fun for about a year or two. When the fun left, so did I, and I went back to doing the club team thing full time. When I was about 12 or 13 I joined the rinky-dink city team again. Why I wanted to do that I have no idea. I think I thought it would be fun like it was last time. When I was six and didn't have to much of anything. Boy was I wrong. And of course, since I'd 'made a commitment' my parents made me go to both practices, even when I resulted to whining about how tired I was. Commitment schmitment, I think my parents were just practicing to be evil parents (in preparation for my brother's teenage years, for sure). Funny thing is, when I got to the rinky-dink practice, it was fun, and I didn't mind being there. (Probably because my coach was a funny, hunky high school senior. Sigh.) But, of course, I immediately (conveniently) forgot just how much fun the second practice was the very next day when I was once again faced with the reality of having to go to two practices. I was crazy for wanting to do it, but hey, that meant more ribbons! Woo! Were are all my ribbons now? In a box in a closet in my parents house, patiently waiting for me to come and claim them once again so I can... uh... do something with them. There was this one lady I knew who sewed all of her sons many ribbons together and made a sort of tapestry that he hung up on his wall. When I saw that wall of ribbons I thought, that is SO cool, I want one! Me and mom never got around to ever making one, though I have more than enough ribbons for it. Hmm...

Anyways, it might sound like I took my swimming seriously - and I did, I was very committed - but never to the point were I was ready to take it to 'the next level'. That meant driving out of town to train with a better coach, like some people did. I enjoyed the practices (really!) and the competing against others (and a lot of the time myself) and the friends I made and all that stuff, but I'd already spent so much of my life in a pool, I wasn't willing to devote even more of my time to it. But I definitely thought about it.

Then I got to high school and swam for yet another team. That whole experience rocked, but it was at a time in my swim career where I'd kind of hit a plateau. I got faster each year, but not by much. Not by the amount I wanted to improve. It was frustrating to say the least. And when the high school season was over and I was no longer training for high school meets, I still swam for my club team. There was this period where, during the summer, I kept going to all these swim meets where I kept swimming slower and slower and it was frustrating and it all just seemed incredibly pointless and the burn out process was well under way. Yet still I swam.

I actually sort of toyed with the idea of not swimming my senior year. I just wanted to do something different. Like play golf. I really wanted to join the golf team. Me? A golfer? Trust me, it ain't a pretty sight. In the end I swam. And in the long run I'm glad I did.

Then I swam two years in college because I was playing water polo. I wasn't going to go back the second year, feeling incredibly burnt out by it all, but a friend persuaded me into going back. I was reluctant, but still easily persuaded because I guess deep down inside I wasn't quite ready to give it all up. I was still burnt out but still doing it because I'd done it for so long I didn't want to stop. Or know how to stop. It's all I'd done for years, all I knew how to do. Stopping meant taking the next step down the road to Growupville. Stopping meant I'd have to change my comfortable, familiar daily routine. It meant getting ... *gasp*... a grownup job (or in my case, jobs).

After that second year in college, I was so fed up with the people and the bullshit and tired of everything that I was actually looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I'm glad I finally said goodbye, but I still miss it.

I'm thankful my parents signed me up for the swim team when I was six. I'm thankful they were willing to spend so much time and money on me and my swimming endeavors. I'm thankful I was able to talk my best friend into joining the team when we were in the fourth grade because I have soooooooooo many good memories because of it. I'm thankful for all that swimming taught me and all that it gave to me over the years. While we ended our relationship on a sour note, I will always hold swimming in the highest regard. :)

I really could go on and on about swimming. But I won't. At least not now. I'll definitely have to document more swimming memories later though, I've got too many of them to keep them locked up in my head.

Wow. This has been really good blog fodder for me. I'll have to do this again sometime. :)


  1. i really liked this little segment! i love learning fun little things like this about people. :) i think i'll do it on my blog, but i most likely won't get around to it until next week.

    also, i've never broken a bone either! go us! i'm often surprised i've never broken anything, cuz i'm a clutz, but i guess it saves on the hospital bills. :)

  2. go us indeed! though i hope we're not jinxing ourselves by saying never. :)

  3. I'm glad you talked me into it too! Imagine how different our lives would be now if you hadn't. :) You and I always did get along well in the same lane!


  4. we got along well, just like Bartle and James. ;) ;)