I wouldn’t say that I’m an athlete. I had a shirt that I used to work out in and it had the word ‘Athlete’ on it. That’s about as close as I got. Let’s run through the journey of my vast sports career…
Probably one of the first sports I’d been exposed to having grown up in Eastern Europe, was football, or for you uncultured swine, soccer. That was when I found out that I am not suited to team sports. I definitely was not suited to soccer. Every time I’d get the ball, I’d kick it in any direction, just as long as it was far, far away from me. Then I’d try being a goalie and I sucked at that too because I didn’t like balls flying at me and I’d be inclined to get the fuck out of the way. So as you see, that wouldn’t have made me a very popular teammate.
All my nephews play soccer and I watch what they do. They’ll receive the ball. THEY WILL NOT PANIC. Then they assess the situation, I watch them look around (although, they probably already know who’s where, which means that they already have a pretty good idea of what to do if they get the ball) and then they either run it or pass it – and here’s the key – to one of their own teammates! Very important point.
I on the other hand would panic, kick the ball anywhere and hope for the best.
Better at individual sports
I then tried some individual sports. Naturally, I was very interested in kicking and punching. To give you some context, if anyone ever picked on me when I was a kid, my mother always told me “kamen, pa u glavu”, literally translated into “rock, then to the head”. I took that to heart more than once. For example, when I was four and skiing, and this older boy wouldn’t get out of my way with his sled. I asked nicely, he wouldn’t move. I had a stick. He was being a dick.
Stick to head = bleeding nose = dad had to apologise to nose bleeders parents.
Anyway. I think what she meant was “don’t let anyone mess with you” and I never have. So my next venture into sports was none other than Karate when I was around 10-11. Karate rocked for me! I got all that aggression out in the dojo. But I found when it was time to finish them off, it seems I wasn’t as aggressive as I thought. I take this as a good thing, this means I had compassion.
At the same time as I was doing karate, I started playing tennis. You can’t see me in this photo, but I was there.
These were some of the best days of my life. This was in NZ and I was 11ish, so we’re talking 1996-7. I played tennis for years and thank goodness I did because how shit is it not knowing how to play tennis? Watching people learn as adults is just awkward.
My coach was amazing. He was the kind of coach that kept you coming back, he was very caring and created a very friendly atmosphere. The kids who trained there were primarily Yugoslav, as was my coach, so there was a level of comfort there. We went there for the friendships as much as for the tennis. I still know a lot of those people and will be friends with them forever. Anyway, I was much better at tennis then I was at football. Except for when I played doubles. I was ok at that too, but there was one partner that I only played with once and never again…
Good at tennis but not as a partner
So, this one time, we were training in doubles and I was partnered with one of the other girls, who was a bit older and much better than me. That part is not important, but worth mentioning. Anyway, I had a killer one-handed backhand, like, move over Federer. Well, good as that was for me, I lined this ball up that was coming straight for my backhand and my partner (unbeknownst to me) was standing right behind me. I smashed that ball and my swing was stopped short by something hard that was accompanied by a weird sound I’ll never quite forget. It’s something akin to hitting a piece of steak on a cutting board with a hammer. That must have been how my partner felt anyway, because I smashed her, straight in the mouth.
You wanna know what’s worse? She had braces at the time. So the inside of her top lip got caught in her braces. Cue trip to the emergency room.
Sorry Andjo 🙁
I wasn’t a very popular doubles partner after that.
Moving on, I trained in tennis right up until I moved to Australia in 2000, when I was 14. That shit was waaay too expensive in Australia and it just wasn’t the same. So I think I dabbled in some sports, like touch footy through work. I played touch footy for a few seasons and only ever scored once. Against my own team (while I was filling in for the opposition).
Soz not soz.
But I was excellent at running the ball and making some good ground. I just didn’t like having the pressure of trying to get the ball across the line.
Fast forward a few years (ok, maybe like, a decade) and this is when Crossfit entered my life… And we’ll leave that for part 2, since Crossfit alone should be around four posts!
Thanks guys and would love any pictures from the Tennis days if anyone can send them to me!
Please feel free to join the conversation and until next time, PEACE!