Sunday, December 19, 2010

Athletics and Me: A History

Guess what time it is?

Roller Derby tryouts time! For those of you keeping track, this will be my third time trying out (once in New York, once in Portland), as chronicled here and here.

It strikes me as funny sometimes that I am involved in something so physical, and also that I'm currently writing and illustrating a book about athletics, since I was anything but athletic as a kid.

I was always gangly & uncoordinated, and just as kids pigeonhole themselves early on as "bad at math" or "bad at art", I always thought I was "bad at sports". I always came in last in the 50-yard dash, and I had a mean PE teacher who clearly favored the boys & naturally athletic girls. No big deal, I thought- I was good at reading and drawing, I did not have to be good at sports.

Appropriately enough, it may very well have been the Olympics that kept me somewhat interested in the world of sports. My mom is a highly creative woman (as evidenced by my homemade costume above), and she was very involved in giving me and my two brothers creative and unique experiences as kids. This includes, but is not limited to, the famed 1984 Block Party Olympics organized by my mother and her best friend, Mrs. C. I wish I had some pictures from this extraordinary event! Staged during our street's summer block party, all of the neighborhood kids competed in events like the marathon (run around the entire block), gymnastics, and a dress-up relay race. We also copied world flags from the encyclopedia with construction paper & staged an Opening and Closing Ceremony parade. The Gymnastics Controversy of 1984 is a story for another day, but I will say this experience influenced me for life. I may not have been naturally gifted at sports, but an athletic competition where we could make flags and have a parade? This was the sporting event for me!

I hope with Olympig (and the accompanying website & additional resources I have planned) that I can help introduce a love of sport to those kids who might not come by it naturally. I know I would be missing a lot by not being involved with roller derby now. Several times a week, I get to hang out with a group of inspirational, strong women- many of whom also never thought of themselves as athletes. Long live sports for the un-athletic!

Oh, and wish me luck at tryouts tonight!!


Nina Crittenden said...

Skate your heart out, Vicki! :)

Marykae said...

This makes me want to host an annual "friend Olympics" in a park somewhere where we have silly events and medals.

JaneAlexandra said...

Good luck! I'm sure you'll wow the judges.

Vicki said...

Thanks!!! And guess what- with your good wishes to help me, I finally made it!!!! I am now Fresh Meat!

Nancy Cuevas said...

Congrats Victoria! would love to come and see you!!! :)

Kristi Valiant said...

When I was little, we used to have block parties too, and decorate our big wheels and bikes with crepe paper and flags for races. Loved those!

Let us know how your tryouts go - warm wishes!