Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Sporting Activities

It looks like more people are helping Randy Seaver come up with new themes for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

Here is your assignment, if you choose to play along (cue the Mission: Impossible! music, please!):

(1) What sporting activities did you participate in as a youth and as an adult?

(2) Tell us in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or Google+.  Please leave a comment on this post with a link to your post.

Thank you to Lisa Gorrell for suggesting this SNGF topic.

Sports, huh?  Never one of my strong points.

I don't remember any organized sports from when I was really young.  I know I had a sports uniform (which I have kept all these years), worn one day a week, when I attended 5th grade at Woollahra Demonstration School (in a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales).  I think Friday was sports day.  I can't think of what sports we played at school, though.  I recall having the opportunity to play soccer, cricket, and rugby while I lived in Australia, and I strongly disliked the first two.  I doubt I was particularly good at any of them.

When my family returned to the United States, I was able to be bad at more sports.  The only F I ever received in my life came in physical education.  My teacher, who looked a little like Crystal Gayle but whose name I don't recall (I can still picture her in my mind), didn't believe that I couldn't do a cartwheel and failed me for that.  She thought I was faking.  Sorry, lady, I still can't do a cartwheel.  But I'll always remember you (and not in a pleasant way).

I had various attempts at archery, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and softball, all of which I was very bad at because I can't aim well.  (My father learned this when he tried to teach me to shoot a gun.)  Even trying to compensate for how I missed didn't work.  One thing I was reasonably good at with baseball and softball was catching, but I never learned how to use a glove properly, so I always caught barehanded.

I did some bowling, mainly during summer breaks, but that was another thing where aiming was almost a prerequisite.  I was the queen of gutter balls.  I think my lifetime high score is in the 70's.

I was long and lanky, so I should have been good at running, but nope, I sucked at that also.  It wasn't until I was in college that I learned I had totally flat feet.  (One healthcare person told me they were so flat they almost went the other way.)  At least that explained why I was so miserable at running.

I am pretty sure there were Girl Scout badges for sports stuff, but I don't remember if I earned any of them.  I know I saved my uniform and badges, but I have no idea where they are in the house.

My brother and I used to play sandlot football in Villa Tasso with some of the other kids living out in the sticks.  I always wanted to be a quarterback (I dreamed of playing for the Minnesota Vikings when Fran Tarkenton retired), but that whole problem with aiming bit me again.  I was a good lineman, though.  The guys had trouble moving past me, because it was like my feet were planted in the ground.

The closest I ever came to playing football was, many years later, being an assistant coach of a professional women's football team.  I can't remember the team name or how I found out about it, but I drove from near the USC campus out to Van Nuys for the nighttime practices.  This was not long after my knee surgery (see below), so I couldn't do a lot, and there was no pay.  But I was thrilled to be part of it.

In college, however, I did find a few athletic activities at which I was at least adequate.  I got into weightlifting about the summer of 1982, when I really, really wanted to try out as a walk-on for the USC football team.  I had a couple of friends on the team, one of whom was a walk-on himself (Rick Vasquez, a quarterback), who encouraged me, and wide receivers coach Nate Shaw thought I should at least be given a chance.  But John Robinson refused to talk to me.  I competed in a couple of local weightlifting contests and even won two prizes.

During the time I was working out with weights, I also started bicycling as exercise and part of my training regimen, not just as a means of transportation (because I didn't have a car at the time).  I used to ride laps around the USC campus.  I think I built up to 11-mile runs, and then fall semester came and I was taking classes full time and working half-time in an office.  Between that and wrenching a knee (which eventually needed surgery), boom!, there went the exercise routine.  Because of the way I injured my knee, now I can't even ride a bicycle half a mile.

The other sporting activity I got into and enjoyed a lot was swimming.  I had been swimming since I was a kid, but nothing major.  USC had an Olympic-size swimming pool in the old PE building.  I did lap swimming and built up to a mile at a time.  I found it very relaxing and enjoyable.

At this point in my life I'm mostly fat and lazy.  I walk, and that's about it.  As a fan, however, I love the NFL and root for the Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders.  I enjoy baseball (see Lisa Gorrell's post on this topic) but haven't gotten really enthusiastic about a team since the Montreal Expos ceased to exist.  And I will always love the Boston Celtics.


  1. Thanks for the shout out. I think the best fans are those who can't play well. I totally forgot about school sports such as kickball, jumprope, and sacket(a silly 3 base game). I used to attend Raider football games with my dad in the late 60s and early 70s. They had some really great players.

    1. I remember kickball, but never heard of sacket before. I'm not sure I would qualify jumping rope as a sport, though.

      I didn't attend a professional football until I was in college. My family did see a minor league game in Florida when I was a kid, though. And the classic Harlem Globetrotters actually came to Fort Walton Beach once, so we got to see Curly Neal, Meadowlark Lemon, and Geese Ausbie in person.


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