Non-athlete of the week

Kerri MacDonald
Kerri MacDonald

For those who aren’t well-versed in obscure holidays, today is International Ask a Question Day. It’s also Pi Day, National Potato Chip Day and, celebrated “in the crevices of your black soul,” Emo Day. So many reasons to rejoice! In recognition of the art of curiosity, I have a question: does Toronto have a CFL team?

In fact, I have a number of questions along those lines: what’s an offside? How many people are on a rowing team? My knowledge of sports is remarkably lacking. I have to confess that despite my passion for newspapers, I’ve never read a sports article outside of the Journal. Not once.

My ignorance of the sporting world outside Queen’s, though, is entirely my fault, but it’s an overstatement to say I’m devoid of all athletic enthusiasm and experience.

My athletic career began at age nine, when my dad forced me to join a soccer league. When that failed—to me, playing defence meant “it’s time to sit down and make bracelets out of dandelions”—I started playing tee-ball. There, in the outfield, my parents’ superstar daughter was at it again with the dandelion jewelry. My baseball profession ended when my team, named after our Whopper-lovin’ sponsor, was rechristened “Booger King” by our opponents. I like to think I was opposed to the inter-team animosity, but it was probably just the heinous blue pants that made me quit.

Other attempts at athleticism over the years included figure skating, gymnastic lessons and various summer camps: horseback riding, tennis and worst of all, golf.

One summer, overwhelmed by the game’s intensity, I fainted on the seventh hole of a golf course. At a meet years later, I fell off the track halfway through the 800-metre race. That winter, I was the kid who dropped my poles from the chairlift on a school ski trip.

At this point, my dad began to realize he didn’t have an incredibly athletic daughter. While my brother was winning provincial cross-country championships, I was reading books in the stands.

I used to argue about whether the one physical activity I really loved could be labelled as a sport. My dad did his best to pretend that he liked my dance recitals, but the older I got, the better he became at arriving at the last possible minute—and when I think of how many dances were structured around Britney Spears remixes, I don’t blame him. Still, I continue to maintain that dancers are athletes—just look in the Journal’s sports section today.

Last week, my dad and I were talking about what Journal positions I’m applying for next year. He suggested I expand my journalistic horizons.

“You should apply to be a sports editor,” he said. I could feel this year’s sports section and those of years past cringing from afar.Maybe, by writing about sports, I’ll finally be able to reach for my dad’s athletic stars, I thought.

But it’s probably best if I just go to a game or two to support those who actually do have talent and perseverance in the athletic realm.

In any case, this signed editorial just shot my chance of getting the job.

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