A kick about life is that it has its surprises. I heard someone say once that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. It is good to make plans, but best to do it with a pencil. Life does have its surprises, but I think that’s a good thing. If I knew what was to be, it would rob me of hope.
There are a number of experiences I’ve had that I couldn’t have imagined in a million years I would ever have. Such as moving halfway across the country to work for the government for a little over two decades. Another is my current job which is working in the same school district I grew up in. When I was a kid, I could not have imagined I would return to that same school five decades later as a substitute teacher’s aide. I sure could not have imagined in a million years that I would sometimes sub for a P.E. aide and hang out in the gym. Back then, I was one of the painfully shy students who were among those who were last to cross the finish line.
A painful school memory is the coach selecting me to be one of the soccer coaches for a series of games. My classmates who were put on my team were not happy campers. How did I know? During the game, they just stood on the field and conversed with one another. That is not how you go about playing soccer. It fell to me to give the team a name. I called us the “Winners”. I’ll just say we didn’t live up to our name.
I am still painfully shy. I don’t hate P.E. as much as I did as a child. For one thing, I’m not the student but one of the grown-ups. The coaches are glad to see me since subs can be hard to come by when their sidekick is absent. I’m an extra set of eyes which can be a big help in a gym filled with children who can get pretty loud at times.
Before my diagnosis last December, I would walk around the sidelines keeping an eye on the kids while they exercised or played the activity of the day. I was in mortal fear of dribbling a basketball or doing jumping jacks with them. How would that look at my age to do such things in front of kids who would be my grandchildren’s age if I had grandchildren? I was lousy at doing such at eight years old; what made me think I could do such at 58?
My baby step off the sidelines was picking up a basketball when I was alone in the gym. I started dribbling and then went for the hoop. It took about 10 misses before the ball went through the hoop. It felt like I had climbed a mountain. Since then, I haven’t been afraid of shooting baskets anymore, even if I am not alone in the gym.
Just recently the activity in the gym was dancing along with “Just Dance” videos. Instead of just watching, I danced. If there were kids laughing at me, I didn’t catch them. From what I saw, most of the kids were struggling to keep up with Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, and the Ghostbusters.
When I started subbing over two years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever even sub in P.E. I sure never would have thought I would shoot baskets or dance. I realize I don’t have to be perfect at it. I should just go ahead and do it like nobody is watching.