HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 10, 2007, Herald Journal

It’s OK to be a sideline player


Over Red Rooster Days, I had the opportunity to play kickball with a few of my Dassel friends. Although I already knew this, I was again reminded how unathletic I am.

Maybe it has something to do with being the creative type or maybe it’s just laziness and lack of coordination. Either way, let me sit on the sideline. Really, I don’t mind.

One would think kickball would be easy, and it is one of the easiest sports out there. But somehow, I can find anything complicated.

Every time I turned around, I was up to kick the ball. This was the most fun. Running, on the other hand, was not so much.

So, I kicked the ball. I ran to first base. Then I waited for my team mate to kick the ball all the while from the side lines, the other team mates yelled at me to not run when the ball was in the air.

When I thought I finally had this bit of advice down, I found out I was being too literal.

For example, I made it to second base while first base was covered. My teammate kicked the ball, but I couldn’t run while it was still in the air, right? Wrong.

Pretty soon, my teammate, who was on first base, came running to second base. I must have been in La-la Land at the time because half-way there, he yells to me I have to run.

Talk about a delay. Needless to say, that delay got me out as I ran to third base.

Outfield was even worse. Every time members from the opposing team kicked the ball, I would pray, “Please God, don’t let the ball come to me.”

Okay, so maybe it didn’t get that bad, but I was nervous when a ball came my way because what would I do with it if it did come my way?

If I actually caught it, what would I do with the ball next? Who would I throw it to?

Overall, I found the game of kickball to be much too stressful. Give me a game of mini golf or throw me a football, but don’t make me catch a ball in the air, throw it to first base, or have to decide when it’s the right time to run.

I was never a big athlete in high school. I hated gym class, but I did join softball for one year. Getting hit in the eye by a fly ball put an end to that. To this day, I’m still jumpy at softball and baseball games.

The most athletic I got in high school was those few years I spent cheering for junior varsity and varsity football.

Now that was fun. It didn’t require a ball or running, so all-in-all it was a good experience.

By no means would I discourage children from joining sports. Athletics can be a positive thing for some people. Others who aren’t the most athletic type can enjoy a game just as much from the sidelines.