A Sports Story

When we were very young, it was all about playing tag or hide-and-seek, simple games like that.   As we got a little older, we had the roller skates that attached to your shoes with a key to tighten them.   We also took swimming lessons in the summer and of course rode our bikes everywhere.   Lots and lots of play time.   Sledding, some ice skating, playing arrow hunt with the neighbor kids on summer nights.   Badminton in the back yard.   Dodge ball in PE class.   

When does all of that become "sports" and trying to be good at something?   I have never really had the competitive spirit, except sometimes as a spectator.   I would like to be good at some sports-type activity, but it seems I never wanted it badly enough to work hard enough.   And I guess I am okay with that.   

I didn't like softball as a kid.   I liked swimming but beyond being an average swimmer for fun, I never aspired to take it to another level.   I've enjoyed bike riding in my life, but besides a period of time in the Bay Area when I would go for 20-25 mile rides, it was never something I wanted to pursue as a sport.   I liked tennis well enough to take some lessons.   That fell by the wayside too.   I took a windsurfing class and got a certification.   It was hard and a lot of effort for not enough fun....at least for me.   I never went again.   I went through a scuba diving course and the necessary dives in Monterey Bay (where the water is 55 degrees year round).   I was certified and bought some gear.   I never went scuba diving again.   In my 20's and 30's,  I did some snow skiing with friends.   We did trips to Utah and Tahoe and other places.   It was very social.   But I had a little fear of the downhill speeds and couldn't get past the basics to be very good at it.   Again, a lot of gear and a lot of effort for something I didn't love.   

I did a lot of hiking and backpacking when I lived in Arizona.   I always enjoyed that, even when it was really hard.   I'm not sure it's a sport but it was a very healthy thing to be involved with.   With my boyfriend at the time, we also did river rafting and I tried kayaking.   I went ATV riding with friends once or twice.   I had a wreck and feel traumatized to this day about going off the edge of that downhill road.

Other things I tried?    Volleyball.   Archery, in high school.   Bowling.   Fencing, in college.   I tried to jog.   Definitely not for me.   

Sounds like a long list when you write it all down.   And it brings me to horseback riding.   I loved riding horses when I was a young girl.   I still love riding horses.   And I take lessons to try to improve because I want to be a better rider and feel that sense of accomplishment.   I don't aspire to show my horse and I also don't aspire to be a great Grand Prix rider.   But I aspire to be better and better and more confident than I am today.   That is a process like any sport, and it takes time and commitment.   So maybe I've finally found it.   Or maybe it was there all along.   I absolutely love horses and they fill a part of my soul, plain and simple.   Maybe I just needed a sport that involved a living/breathing animal with a personality instead of a piece of equipment.   

Summer of 1969
Summer of 2010


is that horse grinning? that's too funny!! love it. ( :
A Quiet Corner said…
Her's guessing that your horse feels the vibes too!...:)JP
Well, I tried many things as well and not much held my interest, but in looking back, I had a great deal of interest in taking pictures so a photography class would probably have worked for me. They just didn't have them back then. Possibly a modern dance class would have been nice too. It takes many of us a very long time in life to find what makes us happy when it comes to extra curricular activities and I think that work and life just get in the way.

Lin said…
I like that both you and the horse are smiling. :) That made me chuckle.

I think it is wonderful that you tried so many different things! Instead of seeing that as a negative, I think you should see yourself as "athletic" and someone who can do just about ANY sport! That's wonderful.

I like to swim. I swam in high school, but I was a lousy competitor--I didn't have the drive to win. If I was in a heated race, I'd let the other guy win--I just didn't care, really. That said, I like to do sports for leisure and I swim now for exercise and pleasure.

It's great that you have horses to enjoy--I am envious. I love horseback riding too.
Lynne said…
Sometimes it takes forever to find our way . . . I think you have found yours . . . when you write about your horses I sense your passion . . .
Love the horse smiling with you.....
Comfypjs said…
As I started reading this I had this question, "What about your horseback riding?" As a kid and as a female, I loved horses. When we moved to California I was thrilled because my aunt in Castro Valley had horses and we got to ride them every weekend. I haven't ridden a horse in years but my sister and I would like to take our grandchildren. Last time I did ride was when I took my kids. I couldn't walk for 4 days. Hopefully, it won't hurt as bad this time! LOL!
The first half of your post.. i did most of that when i was very young. i loved to roller skate clip then on then tighten them with the key.. i ice skated.
played tennis, rode my bike.
i loved it all.
I used to ride for years. I think you may have seen I have 4 horses.. mainly two here in my pastures at the moment. Unfortunately i cant ride anymore.. as i had a bad fall of my mare years ago and had 3 spinal fusions. but I love horses and riding them.
great photo.. enjoy your days riding... it gives one a sense of freedom.
happy days..nice post
Mary Ann said…
Denise, I didn't do ALL of those sports mentioned, but I did do some. I always, always loved horses... still do... but now am afraid of being hurt, which I wasn't before. I'm satisfied to watch them now... and still love their beauty. Your last two pictures are the most wonderful I've seen today on blogs!
Mairéad said…
I never liked sports apart from horse riding which I did durning my teens. Went once or twice since but at this stage would be worried about breaks if I came off so I think you are very brave.

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