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July 14, 2015

Aussie Rules? Isn’t That a Shampoo?

I hate to fulfil such a tired cliché but I am a girl and I do not like sports. Sport is my Achilles’ heel, my Kryptonite and my lifelong foe.

The discord stems back to when I was a kid. I never excelled on the physical field and I dreaded any break time spent outside. Getting a soccer ball to the face is one of my earlier childhood memories that was to signal a lifetime of apathy for the beautiful game.

At summer camps, I wanted to sit in the grass and make daisy chains, not be a poor excuse for a corner back. And I was too afraid to ask what ‘mark up’ meant so of course, there were a lot of goals down my end of the pitch.
A ‘Best Girl’ trophy once awarded to me was clearly a clerical error that confused me with my sister and it was probably far too awkward to rectify as I shuffled over to claim the prize. It was so undeserved, if Kanye himself walked over to interrupt the process, people would have cheered.

At a school tag rugby blitz, I was thrilled to find I was inches away from a score only to be reminded that I was heading in the wrong direction, so I panicked, threw a heinous forward pass and hit a girl (a fellow team member, I might add) square in the jaw.

In French college, I religiously opted for the jewellery-making class until one day it was full and I had to play football. Add a slew of directions en français and I’ll give you a fish perilously out of water.

In P.E., I forged excuse notes. After three straight weeks of period cramps, the teacher didn’t know whether to send me to the emergency room or just tell me to get off my lazy arse. She opted for the latter.

I gave camogie a shot too. It’s not like I didn’t try, people! I was traumatised on my first outing however, when a particularly intimidating older girl criticised me for etching hundreds of tiny purple stars on my brand new hurl. “Why’d you wreck your hurley?!” she demanded. Well, I thought it looked pretty damn fine.

S.O. had the sad realisation long ago that I was never going to be the cool girlfriend who played sports with him. When he’s not trying to initiate a game of kickabout at every turn (seriously, ‘kickabout’? Are we some sort of street urchins from Coronation Street?), he is attempting to explain the offside rule. Good luck, Chuck. He has tried everything from pool to ping-pong and the defeats are always fairly spectacular. It’s not exactly fun to play bowling with someone who gets five gutter balls in a row.

As I grew older, however, I began to accept my shortcomings. I no longer cared that I was the Derek in a sea of Zoolander alpha males, and began to search for my own niche. Scrabble is now my sport. The chequered board is my pitch and the points are my goals. I am more nerd than jock and I am fine with that. To suggest otherwise would be like Conor McGregor himself saying he was a little bit nervous about his next match.

(See, topical sports humour! There’s hope for me yet.)