Wednesday, October 14, 2009

learning to be an imperfect quitter

Today, I became a quitter. I wasn't raised to be a quitter.

When I was 12 my best friend was on a basketball team coached by her father. She asked me to be on the team and, of course, I was thrilled at the idea of doing something with her. Little did I realize that I did not have the coordination or depth perception to get the ball to the hoop. I ran down the court like a ballerina. I made one Hail Mary basket that entire season. Each day before practice or a game I would be a bundle of nerves, worrying about embarrassing myself or getting run over by one of the only two other teams in our division - a cohort of color-coordinated teenagers who stood a foot taller than most of my team and had been playing together for years. They creamed us. I played through the season but, needless to say, did not return. I knew my place was at the barre. I'd toughed it out because I didn't want to disappoint my parents. And, I think there were the makings of a stubborn perfectionist in my teeny twelve year old body. Oh, if I only knew then...

As a basketball player I made a good dancer, which was much closer to a calling than my stint on the court. Easily mortified, I was the kid who wouldn't dance in front of her technically superior classmates. Instead I said I had to go to the bathroom and counted up to three minutes. So it came as a shock to a few when I told them I joined a social sports league this Fall. I thought it would be more social (you know - laughing, joking, and built-in Happy Hours) than it was sport but I forgot one tiny detail... the intrinsically competitive nature of men. Having not played since my playground days I was understandably nervous when, at the first game, the cute boys on the other side of the court at PS Something or Other hurled those dodgeballs at great speed. I may be quite the dodger but I throw. like. a. girl. I survived though and was happy to buy myself a $3 beer and retreat to a corner booth. Until the time rolled around for the next game... This afternoon I finally admitted it to myself. This isn't for me. I didn't want to go. So I didn't. I quit social sports.

Now I am a grown up who lives her own grown up life so since I spent my own grown up money on this I figured if I wasn't having fun, I have better things to do with my time. I felt like a ballerina basketball player once again. Today I threw in the proverbial towel and went to Happy Hour with K instead. Hey, that's what I was in it for anyway... Despite my propensity to feel like a failure, I'm sort of proud of my resignation. The perfectionist in me cringes a bit but I've decided I'm going to do something more "me". I'm going to take dance classes instead. Rather than worrying about meeting people, impressing others, and trying not to show my discomfort I will try to decide between taking Broadway Jazz or Tap first. Despite 15+ years of experience, I will start over as a beginner, and it feels pretty good right now.

**Thank you to everyone for your encouragement regarding Bachelor #1. I am not counting him out yet, I'm just keeping my hopes in check because I have a tendency to be disappointed very easily - especially where guys are concerned.


MCW said...

We may have been separated at birth (except I think you came a few years later!). Completely understand about Bachelor #1. I would rather keep expectations low and be surprised than dissapointed. Although that will happen anyway!

Anonymous said...

Whew, I cannot imagine playing dodgeball where the people are actually SERIOUS about it. good call joining a dance class instead.

I feel ya on Bacelor #1. I ALWAYS did that when I was in your situation. We'll all have high hopes for you!

DSS said...

I used to see quitting as a failure, but as I've gotten older I see it as a success:) Recognizing something that you

a. don't like
b. aren't good at
c. just don't want to do

and being self confident enough to call an end to it.