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Sunday, 01 April 2001

Just Do It?: Advice to Guys Who Aren't Great at Sports

Written by  Elie Klein

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I had always been one of the smaller kids in my class throughout grade school. In fact, it wasn't until my ninth grade growth spurt that I finally towered over the giants that are my mother and sister, standing five feet, two inches and five feet, no inches tall, respectively.

To say my size irked me would be an understatement. Besides for being physically irregular (read: the size of an action figure), I was also painfully shy by nature, and the lack of attention from my peers didn't improve the situation.

These factors, plus the lack of any male siblings to have a catch with, made it nearly impossible for me to get my fair chance at sports. For me, being out of the

sports world meant sitting on the sidelines in friendships as well.

As time went on, I realized that not only were there other kids who didn't like or weren't good at sports, but that they also felt like they were the only ones in the world. Until they met me.

I'm sure many of you out there are well aware that you aren't too good at sports, but you aren't quite sure what to do about it. The first step, which is admittedly not simple, is to put everything into perspective.

Although sports seem to be occupying a lot of the time of the guys around you, this is not necessarily all positive, or something that we should aspire to.

The best example of the stereotypical jock is "Reggie" from the Archie Comics. He is not innately bad, but he comes across very intimidating. He's not really even good at anything besides for sports, but when too much importance is given to sports, egos grow exceptionally large and feelings always get hurt.

The truth is that it isn't only the jocks that overrate sports. The sportswear ad campaigns and high adrenaline sports movies produced by our society don't help dispel this way of thinking. Most guys who take sports very seriously only rave about "last night's game" and their "amazing play" because they have nothing else noteworthy to say about themselves. But maybe you do.

It's true that playing sports promotes teamwork, teaches discipline, and builds your body physically, but if you're just not good at the game, it is no reason to be looked down upon, and no reason to look down upon yourself.

That said, be sure to get some fresh air. Get involved in sports that you can do by yourself without the pressures of competition, like running and weight lifting. Everyone should try to be fit and healthy. Besides, you might surprise yourself, as well as your peers, when you see what athletic ability you do have.

GET A LIFE WITH SOMETHING ELSE

Finding other interests and discovering your other talents is key when trying to get yourself out of the "non-sportsman rut". In my case, I noticed that while I wasn't terrible at baseball and I enjoyed watching sports on TV, music and comedy and writing were much more my bag, baby.

When listening to and playing music and joking around with my friends, my confidence soared to new heights. Instead of seeing sports as a goal that I was failing to reach, I viewed it as just another activity that I opted not to get interested in. When approaching sports in this way, I felt a lot less self-conscious around the guys who lived for sports.

So get on it! Unless you figure out what it is that you are interested in and follow it, nothing is going to change. Usually people will search for confident and collected people to befriend and balance out whatever uncertainties they are dealing with. Therefore, if you are struggling to solidify who you are, you won't be a hot prospect in the friendship draft.

The next step is keeping friends once you have them. Sports will be an issue until the end of time, and there will always be those who taunt you and your friends for not being as involved in sports as they are. But the solution to this problem is a lot simpler than it seems. As long as you don't ever regret who you choose to befriend and don't care who thinks you're "cool" (this includes girls), you will eventually diminish the taunting, as well as stop caring so much yourself.

After a while, it just won't be any fun picking on you if you don't react, and you will be respected for keeping your cool and not trying to be someone you're not. Strangely enough, many people try to figure out who you are by taunting you and seeing if they can get under your skin, but as long as you stay true to yourself, you'll pass their twisted tests with flying colors.

You hate it when your mother tells you to "Just be yourself", but the truth is that she's right. (I won't tell your mother if you don't tell mine.)

Last modified on Sunday, 03 July 2011 10:14
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Elie Klein

Elie Klein was a 19-year-old college sophomore when he wrote this. Today he works for an international public relations firm.

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