Leading on from last week’s blog post on how I love sport and being active, comes the revelation that as I was growing up, I wasn’t sporty. Wait… let me rephrase that… it’s actually more that I never thought of myself as sporty. Sure, I’d always loved swimming, and I took dance lessons from the age of 5, and at 12 my family joined a sailing club…
Reading that back… I’m not sure what I was thinking.
I remember someone at university who I didn’t know very well remarking that I was ‘sporty’. And that was the first time I stopped and actually thought about it. Because it was on the tip of my tongue to say – no, I’m not – but then I suddenly realised… I was sporty.
God, did that mean that in my spice girl classification I would be Sporty Spice? Because I always thought she was a bit too thin and mean and screechy.
I guess I never considered myself sporty because I didn’t partake in traditional sports. While I didn’t necessarily hate playing softball or netball at school when called upon, I didn’t love it either. And I wasn’t any good – put a ball near me and I’ll flail my arms like a helicopter – and I’m definitely the one that randomly gets hits in the face by the ball unawares.
I always participated in school sports carnivals – I tried my hand at high jump and triple jump… and I was terrible! I always walked the ‘cross-country run’ with a group of friends and a bag of sweets because… well who in their right mind would run 3km? But I did often get called up to ‘fill in’ for random things… probably because I was sporty-but-in-denial.
Of course I always took the swimming carnival very seriously, but because I wasn’t one of those kids doing ‘squads’ I never really thought of myself as a serious swimmer. And dancing was considered something that girls did – floating around on a stage (and let’s be honest I wasn’t great at that either) – but I did love it. When I moved into sailing, because it was such an uncommon and untraditional sport, it also never really hit me that I was being ‘sporty’.
My parents were always encouraging us to be active. As young kids we used to tag along to my dad’s orienteering events, and in my teenage years we accompanied him cross country skiing, leading to me attending the school ski camp when I was 15. Despite that, I thought that people who voluntarily studied PE (Physical Ed) in year 11 and 12 were mad! I hated PE – I used to take as long as possible changing and try and get out of it whenever I could (but obviously only for legitimate reasons because I was always a very good girl at school).
If I went back in the same frame of mind now, I would definitely study PE. I would probably aspire to be a physiotherapist or something like that. I would definitely not study maths, and as much as biology was a bad choice for me, I would probably still choose it because of that week you get chickens!
So am I sporty? Now… definitely. Was I back then? I guess I always had it in me. I just didn’t realise it at the time.