Okay, so as for my first quarter of a decade of life, I have been a rather decidedly unathletic person. It didn't really bother me (after junior high) that I wasn't worth much on the basketball court or the football field, and really, I have other interests that I would much rather pursue than watching the game or ESPN. So why, then, in my later life, am I finding myself ever so slightly more drawn to the sports that had for so long held no interest for me whatsoever? I blame the months spent as a missionary.
As you all probably know, once a week is Preparation Day for missionaries, which usually consists of laundry, letter-writing/emailing, car-washing, and then various and sundry activities, most often resulting in a game of basketball with the other elders. Not wanting to be a stick in the mud, especially since it would most often make the teams uneven, I would play along, even though I didn't feel entirely comfortable with my skills. After several minutes, however, I would lose interest. Enter Elder Hood in Sheboygan, and with him a sudden inexplicable and ever so subtle liking of athletics. I even went so far as to buy some exercise clothes and almost looked forward to our weekly volleyball/basketball nights with the Hmong kids. Elder Hood was even able to do the impossible and not only get me to play one-on-one, but even enjoy it a little. I think it's because he took me relatively serious, and was able to give me pointers and advice without seeming frustrated or annoyed at my lack of skill. He even said I made "leaps and bounds in the basketball department (no pun intended)".
Anyway, the interest in basketball itself didn't really last, and really, sports in general don't really float my boat, but every area I served in after that had some sort of regular volleyballing. I was okay at the start, but like anything, the more you practice, the more you improve, and Hmong kids are REALLY good at volleyball, so it was great practice to play with them. And now, to this day (perhaps it's the Hmong-ness that has been infused into my blood), I could play volleyball all day. I never thought I would feel this way about any sport whatsoever, let alone admit it aloud and as publicly as can be, but after tonight's weekly Singles Ward volleyball night, I felt like it had to be said. One of the "Movie Moments of my Life" happened when I served the winning point at Hmong Conference in Appleton. Also, when playing with the young single adults (as opposed to the Hmong), I'm considerably, relatively more apt. So there you go, I love volleyball. I still get annoyed at the importance that society gives sports in general, but at least now there's one in which I enjoy participating. One unexpected lesson from the mission. Who am I these days anyway???
Plus, I've always been good at keeping score. I always felt like I had to be an asset in some way, and counting is easy, as long as you pay attention.