I never thought that I would be an athlete someday. I still don’t feel like I am one, despite the evidence to the contrary. I’ve always been more of the artsy type, sulking around wearing black and making fun of jocks. I’ve liked watching sports, but I thought I would always be more of a spectator than a participant. I didn’t like to sweat…it kept making my black eyeliner run.
Before I started at the dojo, I had never really learned how to train my body to do anything, unless you count playing drums, but that doesn’t translate very well to martial arts. Sometimes when I am shown a technique, my mind still has a hard time telling my body what to do. I have to break each part down in my head, and try to understand it. I’m fervishly thinking “Okay, which hand goes where, and how do I get my leg to do that?” It’s frustrating sometimes, but the more I train, the easier it is to figure out.Sometimes when people are trying to explain things to me, they use examples I can’t really relate to. I remember one guy telling me that I should hold their head under my arm like I would a football. I was thinking “Do I look like a football player to you?” He struggled to find another way to explain it, and eventually I figured it out. If you ever have to work with someone like me, please try to be patient and understanding. I’m not stupid, sometimes I just have a hard time getting it, because using my body in these ways does not come entirely naturally to me yet.
I still don’t like sweating, but I do so much of it now that I gave up the eyeliner long ago, at least in the dojo. I still sulk around wearing black and making fun of jocks, but now it’s only because I am so jealous of their natural abilities. I still don’t really feel like I’m a player, but I’m so glad I joined the game.
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”— Mike Singletary