Yesterday, someone on Twitter asked me about the Foster Grant glasses in my avatar and that got me thinking about nicknames. I’ve never had a nickname…I’ve been called names but none of them involved the word nick. I’m a nee Foster so growing up I had the usual Foster Child, Foster Grant glasses, Fosters Beer jokes.
Totally boring stuff thought up by mean little snots without imaginations.
The Mister’s nickname in high school was Flub. He was the tallest guy in his class so of course, he had to be on the basketball team. By his own admission, he was a lousy player. He has just enough coordination to make sex and dancing interesting but when it comes to sports, he’s a little lacking in the goal-scoring department.
The point I’m taking a long time getting to is that I’m only good at games that play the angles. Games like golf, basketball and pool.
I have very good hand-eye coordination…I always get the fork into my mouth first time, every time. Somehow that same skill translates to me being a kick-ass player of what I call angle sports.
The first time I picked up a golf club, it was at a client schmooze day. I worked at an ad agency and golf was big with the clients. So there I was with something called a driver in my hand and sweat on my brow. No one was more surprised when I hit the ball straight down the fairway. No slice, no hook. It only went about 100 yards but that didn’t matter. The guys on my team were amazed…in different ways. The clients were all…”Oh my god, that’s your first time? You should take some lessons.” My coworkers were all…”Beginner’s luck. Bet you can’t do that again.”
Typical that strangers sometimes have more faith in your abilities than your friends. Familiarity breeds concept, perhaps? Whatever the reason for my coworkers crankiness, I ended up with a pretty decent score and an invitation by one of the clients to hit the driving range. Score one for the girl!
Basketball is the same. I don’t have the upper-arm strength to make three pointers but I can bank a lay-up shot every time. I got hooked on basketball during the golden age of Michael Jordan’s reign with the Chicago Bulls and many a bag of potato chips got smushed as I alternatively sat, stood, rolled around on the floor and kneeled in prayer during playoff season.
Then, there is pool. It was at a staff Christmas party that I learned I could play. We’d decided instead of the usual hotel dine-and-dance to hit the local pool hall for the night. After a few drinks, I picked up a cue and fell in love. After that night, I loved playing pool in the skankiest joint in town.
The smokey pool hall, the hustling hustler, the too-tight jeans…what memories.
The why of why I liked these games took a few years to sink in. I was watching a special on Jordan where they were breaking down his game when it hit me. It’s working the angles that I loved. I could look at a green, a court or pool table and visualize the correct angle to sink the shot. It didn’t work every time. If it did, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this post.
I’d be rich off my many sponsorship for things like female hygiene products, living the life of the dissipated former athlete and probably with a few law suits under my belt.
But that was then and this is now. I had to give up playing pool, basketball and golf. I have a slightly addictive personality and I got hooked. I drove around with a set of golf clubs in my car and every night after work in the summer, I’d be at the public golf course begging people to join me in a foursome. I’d pester the kids at the local school to let me play HORSE. I finally got banned from the pool hall for going over my table time limit. It all got a bit too much and I had to go cold turkey.
This is one reason I don’t have cable. Too much temptation. It would be fine at first. I’d start with one sports channel but it wouldn’t end there. I’d move on to specialty channels and watch 24 hours a day.
Before long, I’d be in front of the television growing fat on potato chips and yelling at people to get out of the way.
It would end with me down at the local pool hall taking the allowance out of the pockets of teen age school boys. I have too much self-respect to go down that road.
But late at night, when the lights are out and the Mister is sound asleep, I think back on the days when life was just an angle to be played.