Nancy Roman

The Athlete In Me

A while back, I had a discussion with some friends about Rich People. And yes, you need to capitalize Rich People because they are Special.

Anyway, we were discussing the difference between Rich People and not-rich-people. Not the difference between Rich and poor – that’s obvious. But in these times when the average person has cell phones and nice cars and eats out when he wants and has loads of “stuff” – our lives in a lot of ways are not that much different. So what then singles out Rich People?

Of course, there’s the fact that their shoes are really really expensive. And their expectations to be waited on are really really high.

But when it came right down to it, I thought there were only two things I truly envied about Rich People.  (Now that I want a house on the beach, let’s make that three things.)

But back then, those two things were:

Good Art  – I’d love beautiful inspiring paintings on my wall to look at every day –

and –

The time to get really good at a sport.

Being a good athlete takes a lot of practice. I always wanted to be good at a sport – any sport – and never had the time necessary to develop the skills.

And you need LOTS of practice if you haven’t got any natural ability.

The first athletic endeavor I remember is “Red Rover.” I was very puny and I could never break through the locked arms of the other kids. And so I was easy pickings and always called on:  “Red Rover, Red Rover, we want Nancy to come over!” And I’d try and try and fail and fail. So one day after being played like a yo-yo (which I couldn’t do either, by the way) – I furiously revved myself up and ran like I had never run before. And just when I got to the kids, they laughed and let go. And I ran right through them and into the brick wall of Lavoie’s Market. I had a real gusher of a bloody nose and never played Red Rover again.

Then I tried baseball. I played baseball with my boy cousins in New Britain. Again, I gave it my best effort but I didn’t know anything about baseball. But they tossed me an easy one and I hit it. I really did!  And they said “Run! Run! Run to first base!” And I did. And then they said, “Ha, Ha! You’re out! You ran on a foul ball, you dummy!” End of my baseball career.

I took a gymnastics class at the Girls’ Club. After six months of effort and numerous minor injuries, I could turn a crooked cartwheel. Almost.

I did not take any sports in high school. I had gym class of course. I liked square dancing. I went Allemande Left when everyone else was Allemande Right.

It was all Woodstock Hippie Love and Peace in college. Thank god that did not entail any physical commitment beyond sitting on the floor with a joint.

After college, my goal was to find a good job. And so I worked at a mediocre job and went to school every night. No time for much more than the walk from the office to the parking lot and from the classroom to the other parking lot. And it worked. I got a very good job.

And so next on my list was a boyfriend.

I joined a “fun” sports club. Skiing, Tennis, Volleyball. Just young adults (cute men and pretty women) getting together to have fun. I couldn’t ski, so I signed up for volleyball. Just for fun, right? Wrong. These guys had to WIN. These guys I wanted so badly to meet would not let me on their team. And why? Well, because I was terrible. I don’t think that’s very sportsmanlike, do you?

So I took tennis lessons. We were volleying back and forth one Saturday morning. Three people on each side of the court. Warming up. I was only watching the ball from the person that I was paired with. Keep your eye on the ball, I was told.  But another dude hit another ball as hard as possible. Directly into my throat.

Well, how about Golf?  I played in the company golf tournament. One hundred foursomes. I came in last. So I took lessons. My instructor said that he couldn’t promise to make me a great golfer, but he promised that I wouldn’t come in last anymore. At lesson number eight, he said, “Well, you might still come in last.”

Zumba is great. I love dancing to that sexy music. I’m pretty good at it too. My hips almost sway. Not quite, but close.

And I practice Yoga. I’ve been at it for twelve years now. And sometimes I can stand on one foot. For ten seconds.

But I found it! Finally!

The athletic pursuit I’m great at!

Who knew that all I had to do was find the right kind of Yoga!

I went to a Restorative Yoga class.

It’s basically different kinds of lying down.

I excel at lying down!




  1. I expect that Red Rover is banned now. My sister had a memorable bloody encounter with a wall, as well!


  2. Red Rover was to be avoided. Restorative Yoga class, you say? I’m going to be all over THAT! I sucked at sports as well. Still. Comforting to be in good company. 😀


    • I have never found a sport I didn’t suck at. Zumba is my best, I guess, but that’s not saying much.


  3. I like the sound of that, especially as I read somewhere that we can lose weight whilst we’re asleep!


    • I always lose 1.6 lbs overnight. I think I should take a nap instead of going to the gym.


      • That’s why I always used to weigh myself first thing in the morning after the ‘necessary’ !


  4. I tried Zumba but felt like a rhino on roller skates. Got tangled up in Yoga and fell over. I might excel at restorative/lying down yoga, too!

    fun post 🙂 MJ


    • I’ve been at Zumba for about 3 years now. It took two years to overcome the rhino stage. I fall over a lot in Yoga. I just get backup.


  5. June

    Oh, you were talking about yourself!!?? I thought you were talking about me!!! My greatest achievement was learning to ride a bicycle. Of course, I almost killed myself before I mastered that monster!


    • Bicycles definitely count! You’re an athlete!


  6. The only sport I was chosen for was dodge ball….I was so skinny, I could turn sideways and they couldn’t hit me. I pretty much sucked at anything else too.


    • I hated dodge ball – my reaction was always way too slow, And I got bombarded. Ouch.


  7. Enjoyed this post immensely – my Elementary School nemesis was Kickball. Closely followed by the kids that were good at it. I think PE should be replaced by Art classes for the less coordinated. I also do yoga now, Iyengar.


    • I think in PE class you should always be given the choice to just walk for the whole class. I could do anything else, but I could walk.


      • I agree, how many artistic types have been damaged by high school PE? Maybe they teach yoga now..


  8. I can’t do Zumba – no rhythm whatsoever – soooo Restorative Yoga it is!


    • You can’t go wrong. You could, however, fall asleep.


  9. That’s the kind of yoga class I’m looking for. The ones at my gym are just hard workouts under a soothing name.


    • My gym doesn’t want soothing. They want me to take boot camp. That would not make me happy; it would make me cry.


  10. I had a brother like your boy cousins. Ugh.
    I liked Red Rover…now my running dog is making me pay for a tail on a kite.
    Yoga sounds preferable


    • You must have been one of the big kids – to like Red Rover. Us puny kids dreaded it. Of course, we dreaded being left out of games even more.


      • Nope – a good year and a half younger than all of them – tiny and scrawny…but had annoying much older brother who delighted in tormenting me. Got really good at running fast and hard


  11. I avoided all grade school sports. When I got out of school and started working I found I was pretty good at perching on a stool preferably at a bar with hotties. I did do racquetball for a while. I found if you wore tiny clothes you had an advantage over the men.


    • Aha… that was my problem with the dating/sports club! My clothes were not tiny enough!


  12. I’ve been trying to get into yoga (it’s on my 30-before-30 list), but I just haven’t found one that I like. Now restorative yoga… that’s something I could get into.


    • It’s actually a pretty nice way to start yoga. And a nice stress-reliever.


  13. god. signing up for restorative yoga now. thanks for the tip. 😉


  14. Gee, I think I’ve been doing restorative yoga all my life. I just never knew it had a name.


  15. Restorative Yoga sounds like it would be perfect for me. Like you I have failed miserably at every sport I have tried. I haven’t been able to even get Zumba or Yoga to work but this laying down thing sounds like I could handle it.


    • And the teacher often gives you a blanket too.


  16. I sucked at sports as a kid and had to watch all my girl cousins excel at them. Later in life I read an article saying that dancer’s are the greatest of athletes – that was the BEST day of my life! Who knew I had been an athlete all along, dancing my way through life! None of my cousins are playing sports anymore – but I still rock out daily – dancing like no one is watching 🙂


  17. Hated every P.E./Gym class I ever took in school, was always the last to be picked for a team (and there was a good reason for that). Tried an aerobics class once as an adult – could NOT keep up with what everybody else was doing, and have never felt so uncoordinated. Thank goodness, at this stage in my life, I don’t have to do anything athletic!



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