Wednesday, August 11, 2004
The Bahamas, Part II: Love, Sports and Booze
In addition to being an all-around great time, two of the most important events of my life occurred in The Bahamas. I will now discuss them in a round-about way, going off on several tangents and peppering my explanation with inappropriate and tasteless jokes (just in case you didn’t know what you were in for).
I have never been much of an athlete. From a young age, my proclivity for both milkshakes and sloth combined to destroy any athleticism I had inherited from my parents. I tried out for football, but quit in less than a week when I learned how much running was involved. This was a good thing too, because football teams were organized by weight (i.e. 60 pounders, 70 pounders, etc). Had I stayed with it, I would have been a fat 9 year old playing against svelte 12 year olds who surely would have taken great pride in beating my ass daily while I wept to myself and wished for pudding pops.
[By the way, whatever happened to pudding pops? Are these still around? They were awesome. Someone please help me find them.]
I didn’t play hockey because skating requires balance, and when you are young and top-heavy, hockey really isn’t the ideal activity for you. And basketball, well, see the “running” excuse for baseball.
[It should be noted that my lack of athleticism was not limited to team sports: I couldn’t ride a bike until I was 10, and couldn’t swim until I was 12. God I wish I was joking right now.]
Baseball was the one sport that I sort of took to. And by “sort of took to” I mean “continued to show up at games for the McDonald’s that usually came afterward.” I played baseball for two years, and they were easily the worst two years of my life. However, my crowning sports achievement came in those two years, when I scored the winning run from first on a double hit by my teammate Greg.
Scoring a run from first on a double is an almost expected occurrence in baseball, but there were extraneous circumstances that made this case extraordinary. First, I stink at sports, and everyone at the ballpark that day knew it. Second, there was a play at the plate and I beat the catcher’s tag to be called safe to be embraced by my swarming and cheering teammates.
It was undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement of my life. Until this weekend.
Athletics take on a different role in our lives as we get older. Once we’ve hit our ceiling and we realize that no, we will not be the first member of the 800 club because every time we swing a bat something in our elbow rips, or no, we won’t be breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring record of 100 points in a game because the last time we ran the length of a basketball court we missed Christmas because one of our lungs collapsed, we take a more passive role in athletics. Meaning we become content to watch and cheer for the exploits of others, because we know that we just can’t fucking do it ourselves. This is the case until we have children of our own, and force them to dribble a basketball eight hours a day under penalty of electrocution.
In The Bahamas this weekend, the main activity of the weekend was swimming. I’m not much of a swimmer, as I haven’t swum in about ten years because of the body hair that has attacked my body, changing it from a torso to a really shaggy greasy rug that sheds. Nay, I stayed on the sidelines of the pool, watching others swim while I had fruity drink after fruity drink.
As you might guess, I got very drunk while everyone else swam. Sitting by myself, waving to others, and shrugging them off when they asked me to jump in the pool got very exhausting for me (this may have had something to do with the drinks and the heat, but let’s not make that judgment here).
After piña colada number thirty (or so), I decided to take a walk on the beach to try to sober up. This did nothing. I figured that if I was going to make it the rest of the night, I would have to leave everyone at the pool and head in for a quick nap.
[The scene is now set. Finally.]
I walked from the beach up to the edge of the pool that all my friends were swimming to wash the sand from my feet. The ledge was very slippery. Also, I am typically very clumsy. Also, my blood alcohol level was about .41.
While dipping one foot in the pool, still sipping a full piña colada, I began to lose my balance. I knew I was ultimately going to fall in, but instinctively I started doing the “I’m slowly going to fall but I’m going to flail my arms around say ‘whoa’ and try to save myself” dance.
As everyone watched, I fell into the pool. But in mid-fall I adjusted my body just so that I managed to gently toss my full piña colada into the air, the drink landing softly on the ledge of the pool. So while I crashed into the pool with a giant splash that only a major fat body can create, the drink landed perfectly, right side up, without spilling a sip.
When I came back from under the water, everyone was applauding. I saw the drink sitting quietly on the ledge, almost saying to me, “Are you done horsing around so you can get back to drinking me now?” I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in myself for the first time in since the Philadelphia City Spelling Bee, and I knew that it just didn’t get any better.
I got out of the pool and was patted on the back by all those around me. I picked up the piña colada, apologized profusely, and together we walked slowly back to the room, reunited, and locked in an embrace of love and mutual admiration.
[What did you expect? Did you think I was going to run a fucking triathlon?]