I hate to boast, but the fact is I play sports with an incredibly consistent level of mediocrity.
I’m not good or bad. I’m just there.
Tennis? Running? Ball hockey? Average, average, average.
And I love it.
Want to take me on? Well, son, you best stand back at a moderate distance because I’m about to get all middling on your ass. I’m not just mean. I am THE mean.
You say you’re average too? Well then, step up, and we’ll find out what happens when the undistinguished force meets the intermediate object.
As you can see, it’s easy to get my competitive juices flowing, even if those juices are of no-name-brand quality. I have the killer instinct, just no weapons to kill with.
At first blush, it probably seems strange that I have a viciously competitive attitude toward sports when they usually leave me blushing, period. How can I play so happily when I know I’m so very so-so?
It’s simple: I like adventures and want to be part of one, even if I’m just a background character.
Sports are just storytelling in real time, and not everyone can be Indiana Jones. Some of us are just University Student, Bad Guy No. 2, or Guy Who Gets His Head Run Through By A Spike.
Any part in the story will do.
It’s a natural urge, to want your life to be a grand adventure. But it’s hard to pretend I’m a superhero when the hardest decision I face is deciding how many times a pair of jeans can be re-worn before washing, so I instead play sports — make-believe for adults.
One day, for instance, I can look back on a friendly tennis match and recount it like I’m some epic warrior, even if it’s the tale of when I had each of my limbs hacked off by a much better warrior who had this amazing overhand broadsword.
As a mediocre player, I have a small part to play in the narratives of players both better and worse. Just starting to play tennis? Make reaching my skill level a short-term goal! A slightly above-average runner? You’ll feel like a world-beater when you blow by me! I’m an inspiration!
So this one goes out to all the mediocre athletes out there. The third-line left-wingers, the soccer fullbacks, the right-fielders batting eighth. I stand with you, here in the middle of the road, ready to offer all the support I can muster. An average amount, of course.