Thursday, September 2, 2010

Presidential Approval

Chunky Kid

When I was in elementary school I was anything but athletic. In fact, I was fat. The most athletic thing I did was take tap and baton classes through my school. I vividly remember the day when they were measuring us for our dance costumes and a lady yelled out my waist measurement for everyone, including my classmates, to hear. Needless to say, it was material that some of the bullies used for a long time against me. The next closest thing to being active was Pop Warner cheerleading from second through ninth grades. I loved everything about sports, but never got involved myself.

However, there was one sport that I did do well at, but no one at school knew about it: volleyball. My aunt and uncle had a camp on Oneida Lake that we would go to every Sunday during the summer. They had a volleyball net set up and we would play every day we were out there. And I got pretty good.

Now back in gym class, I was always the last one chosen for a team. I hated going to gym class...that was, until the first time I saw a volleyball net set up for us. Finally, something that I can actually do!!! Our teacher decided that we would play a game to 5 points. Knowing that the typical fifth grader can't serve, pass, set, or spike a ball, he figured this would take all of the class time. That might have been a good idea if I didn't have my little secret...I COULD do all of those things!

One by one, my classmates got up to serve and one by one they would fail to get the ball over the net. Then it was my turn. My first serve glided over the net to my stunned classmates who didn't know what to do. Ace! This was followed by four more aces. The teacher was probably more stunned than my classmates! I had finally found my calling.

This story does have a sour note however. A few weeks later, we had a teachers VS the fifth grade volleyball game and I was on the team as the first server. I walked up to the end line and proceeded to shank the serve. This is the beginning of what is now years of doubt in myself that would keep a sports psychologist employed for the rest of their lives. But, that's another story for another day.

Give Me My Patch!
What does this have to do with "Presidential Approval" you may ask? Well, this was the first time in my life that I felt like I could excel at sports. I had to wait until seventh grade to try out for the volleyball team, but I did and I was the only seventh grader there. This gave me the confidence to try track and soccer also. Because of my newly found level of fitness and sports prowess, I started to look forward to gym class. I especially looked forward to the annual Presidential Physical Fitness Test.

Every year, I got close to winning the award which you got by scoring a 10 on a series of fitness test. But I never got it. I would usually score around an 8, but my senior year was my closest when I got a 9. I wanted so badly to get the award and proudly display my patch, but it wasn't meant to be.

However, a couple years ago, I found the adult equivalent: the President's Challenge. You simply log in any physical activity and you get awarded points for them. As you accumulate the points, you reach different award levels. Within the last year, I reached the Bronze and Silver levels and have recently been working toward the Gold level. With yesterday's swim, I am happy to say that I achieved Gold.

This along with finishing Iron Girl proves that I am fit and I am an athlete. I wonder how many of my classmates from elementary school can say the same thing? Since I saw some of them recently at my 25th class reunion, I can say that not many of them can say that.

And that feels pretty cool!


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