In grade school, the boys would play kickball at recess. It wasn’t that the girls weren’t allowed to join the game, we usually just chose to occupy the swing set. My best friend Amanda, however, was not the type of girl who would sit and braid the other girls’ hair. She was outgoing and tough, a girl who could later perform pushups on her knuckles, and when the boys gathered for kickball, she was one of the few girls who participated. And she encouraged me to do the same. We’ve gone our separate ways now, but I will always love my childhood friend for inspiring me to get off the sidelines and play the game.
I summoned her fortitude for Boot Camp’s new Saturday format: play in the park. Across the river from our Highland Park location is the beautiful Minnehaha Falls Park, and on Saturdays, we walk across the bridge to sprint, crawl on the ground and play a form of Frisbee Golf with a ball instead of a disk. It’s a nice way to mix it up after a week of circuit-style Boot Camp workouts.
Unfortunately for anyone on my team, my hand-eye coordination has been drastically diminished in years I’ve spent sitting at a desk. I haven’t participated in team sports since I was a sophomore on our school’s volleyball team. Throwing a ball? Come on! Can’t I just toss it instead, maybe roll it? Even our lab, Chloe, is unimpressed when I throw her the tennis ball — she always outruns it, expecting me to really chuck it. When it lands several feet short, she spins around in to make her way back to me and retrieve it, clearly as confused as I am to its whereabouts. Everything in my body positioning, from the outreach of my arm to the exertion of my breath, would indicate a long throw, but alas. Add “throw a ball a distance” to my list of goals.
So what’s my role on the team? Defense and distraction. Swatting at the ball. Run back and forth and not accomplishing much — save for sweating a lot and burning calories. Maybe I won’t be MVP anytime soon, but at least I had fun.