Saturday, April 25, 2009

Slim Pickings

On the very first teacher development day at my school, which was my first ever day of work, I was sitting at the 'year 6' table, getting ready to start work. I had just met the year 6 teaching team, and could barely remember their names. I was very shy and nervous. There's one guy on our year level, a nice family guy, who asked if I liked sport. I said I did, and then he said the staff were forming a touch footy team to play in a club competition, and if I was keen they'd be happy to have me. I said 'OK', and suddenly I was eagerly trekking down a path that would lead me through embarressment, then onto ... hopefully fitness and new skills.

In highschool I played netball, basketball and volleyball. I danced a LOT and was pretty fit overall. I am very bad with sports involving bats. As soon as there is a third party involved, my hand and the ball begin to disagree. I end up looking like an idiot, as I make contact with tennis balls at the part of the raquet enclosed by my fist. I have a hard time judging the distance and where to make contact when something other than just my hand is involved. Touch, however, does not involve much besides players and the ball. I have cheerlead for leage, union and AFL a lot in the past, so I thought had a bit of an idea about footy games in general... Touch, as I understood it, simply required fitness, and as I have had fitness in the past, I figured I'd pick it up quickly.
Little did I know the 'fitness training' aspect of the lead-up to games would be quite so public and humiliating. On the last day of school last term we had a scratch match against the best touch players in the school, including a few district players and a kid who just made the state league team. I jokingly asked if we couldn't just have training after school somewhere where nobody could see us, but I wasn't joking at all.
It was a little bit of a disaster for me personally. Here are some things I learnt:
  • I am unfit.
  • There are 6 players on each team.
  • I am... excessively unfit.
  • When you are touched with the ball, you simply place it down on the ground between your legs, and if necessary roll it backwards a few inches. If you throw it backwards between your legs, your teamate will end up running backwards to pick it up, cursing you all the way.
  • Impressively unfit, even!
  • Touch has a whole other language! If you don't understand it, the excessively fit woman beside you who is twice your age but could run 20 laps around the oval for every one of yours will at intervals between speaking this language at the top of her lungs suddenly burst into action in front of you, murmuring 'don't worry Ab, I'll just do it myself!'
  • If there were a word, which meant 'unfit', but more, that would be me.
  • In touch, you basically have your own player to mark. If you don't realise this and start running in the opposite direction, they will get past you (despite the hasty attempts of cranky teamates) and score a try for their team.
  • If unfit were a competition, I would actually be in the running for first place!
  • You can sub anytime you want. The only catch is that if you decide you're going to sub with a teamate when you are back on your line in defence, as you obliviously stroll off the field whistling, you're leaving behind a rather conspicuous gap, through which the other team will inevitably score. When I explained to James the way I learnt this rule he looked at me as if I were crazy. How was I supposed to know??!
  • I am so unfit that when I run, my face turns such a peculiar shade of red, that my class and other students in the school think I have a rare disease.

I learnt all of these the hard way, in front of the entire school. My class were so cute and hilarious. They were soooo supportive, screaming "GO MRS E!!!" over and over, then as the game went on and it became increasingly apparent that I was incredibly unfit and had no idea what I was doing, they seemed to become almost embarressed for me, and the encouragement became constructive critisism and instruction, and "Don't worry Mrs E, we'll teach you the rules!!!".

Our first game against an actual team of people who are not 11 years old, is on Tuesday night. We are wearing shirts, in which we will glow in the dark. Although I laughed out loud when I first saw them (much to the dismay of our team captain who ordered them) and asked whether we were doing community service or playing touch, I am grateful that I will probably be able to recognise who to pass the ball to in the dark. I am number 3. James just got released from YM and into Ward Mission Leader so he has Tuesday nights free and can come and play too. I am excited for this because I will feel more useful to my team, as bringing him along will compensate for bringing me along! :) I will let you know how we go :) xo


Jonny and Jessima said...

Don't worry :) The great thing about touch is you will get fit the more you play. Plus it is a really fun game. As you play it more and more you will love it.

Touch is one of my favourite sports. One day hopefully I will be able to play again.

Have fun and enjoy yourself. Some people will take it seriously, but just have fun. xoxox

Sandy M. said...

Abby! You get to wear a top that calls you slim!! AND you can tell Jonny that you are a three! AND the 'pic-kings' must mean that you.. are the pic of.. the..kings! (Much like having all of your ducks in a row - just roll with me here.)

As for feeling (over and over) that you don't fit in - nonsense I say!

Wait! - You say there are only 6 people on each team?! You are going to have to do a LOT of running!...

"GO MRS.E!!"

:) xxoo

(Would you like us to come and watch sometime? :)

Sandy M. said...

Abs, was speaking to the Hampton family this morning, and have this blog address for jill:

I sent her a quick note to say that I had passed this along to you, and I thought you would love to catch up with her sometime! :)

Cody and Jill said...


Tammy Lorna said...

Hey Flabby - hehehe

I love the story, although I suspect that you're really not THAT bad at all ;)

but good idea to bring james along.. :)

xo Tammy