My lesbian credentials were put to the test yesterday when my girlfriend made the following requests of me:
1) Will you practice softball with me?
2) Will you go to Sports Authority and help me pick out a bat?
Other than the briefest of forays into tennis and golf, I've strictly avoided any sport that involves catching, throwing, running, extreme physical contact or hitting balls or other objects with sticks (and any combination thereof). Which left me with swimming and synchronized swimming as my only options unless I wanted to take up competitive jump rope or perhaps rhythmic gymnastics.
I was a competitive swimmer from age 5 through middle school. Picked up synchronized swimming in middle school and continued through high school, which culminated in a Michigan state championship in 1996. Oh wait, you thought I was kidding when I mentioned synchro earlier? Nope. So it's not that I've never been athletic, I've just always shied away from sports where there are strategic plays that require me to successfully complete my portion of said play for the benefit of the team. Too anxiety-provoking.
With swimming, you get to be on a team but the strategy starts and ends with "swim as fast as you can." Which I always did and did well. With synchro, the whole point is for the routine to look the same every time. It is predictable, aside from the occasional nose clip mishap (and one unfortunate incident in which I suffered an asthma attack during a meet and had to be pulled out of the pool). With enough skill and practice, you pretty much know how things are going to go down in the water.
Since high school, my athletic exploits has mainly been limited to dancing at nightclubs.
Anyways, about last night...
Request Number 1
I first had to cajole my girlfriend into moving softball practice to the back yard, rather than the PUBLIC park she had planned. It is one thing for me to make a spectacle of myself in front of P-Funk, subjecting strangers to my flailing is another thing entirely. I'd heard there was a 50/50 change of thunderstorms, so used the potential for lightening to keep us close to shelter (and surrounded by a privacy fence).
Tossing the softball around started off positively enough; I was catching and throwing with ease and accuracy. Just when I was getting cocky, she threw a fast one. I caught it, but it stung a bit. That's when I realized that "playing catch" had just been a warm up and the plan was not to keep standing only 10 yards apart and throwing softies. I decided I needed to throw harder if I was actually going to help her practice before the first game of the season on Wednesday. All consistency was gone the second I tried to really throw the thing. P-funk was gracious as she ran all over the yard chasing my sporadic tosses: "In a real game, the ball doesn't always come directly to you, so this is good practice." Luckily we were rained out before things got any uglier.
Request Number 2
The only equipment required in synchro are nose clips, waterproof make-up, sequined bathing suits and Knox gelatin*. So I was fairly confident that when P-funk said "Help me pick out a bat," she actually meant, "Watch me pick out a bat." The extent of my advice was "Don't get a pink one." I also proved useful in keeping an eye out for possible blunt-force trauma victims as she took practice swings. Then we abandoned the strange land of sports bras and for my apartment where we spent the rest of the night sorting my arts and crafts supplies. How quaint.
Random aside: This isn't the first time I found myself in a "mixed marriage." I previously dated a softball dyke my senior year of college. I was the only lesbian not on the field during warm-up. I could be found in the bleachers reading "The Prostitution of Sexuality" by Kathy Barry for my Women's Studies Seminar, occasionally looking up to drool over the forklift operator playing shortstop (who wasn't my girlfriend, but that's another story).
*We used unflavored gelatin to hold our hair in place during competition. No, Seriously.