Sunday, August 21, 2016

Being Something You're Not, Trying To Be What You'll Never Be

"To be or not to be, that is the question", Shakespeare once said. There are those of us who have a plan in life and stick to it.
I on the other hand was a happy go lucky kid who just followed the crowd and was always the dreamer.
I never had a plan. I talked big and bold, but when it came down to it, I did nothing.
"I'm gonna try out for the baseball team", or "I'm gonna try out for quarterback", I'd say to whoever would listen.
All talk no action. I'd always have a bullshit excuse why I didn't do it. "I don't have time", I'd say.
I was a dream chaser. After high school I put it in my mind I was going to be a PE teacher. "I'm going to be a PE major!"
"Oh really?", someone would say, "What sport did you play in high school?"
"None. I just really love sports."
"Oh, good luck with that."
I didn't know I'd have to take anatomy classes, chemistry, and other science classes. I just thought at the time I'd take PE classes and get my degree. I was too dumb to be a dumb jock. The dumb jocks were smarter than me!
I wasn't a jock though. I was a poser, a wanna be that never was.
I just didn't have a clue.
I can remember taking tennis and golf classes thinking one day I'd be a club pro or a PE teacher. I wasn't thinking of the thousands of other people who had the same goal but had the sports background.
I had a co-worker who's brother in law was a few years younger than me in school. He was going to UC San Diego for his PE degree  (Kinesiology if you want to get technical). I was plodding along at JC while this guy was earning his BS, Masters, teaching credential and eventually a PhD in Kinesiology.
I remember feeling inferior to this guy I never knew, but with each passing year my co-worker would mention his progress. Must be nice to not worry about making a living like I had to. I would have loved to have just focus on school.
I knew my plan was a dream. I had a younger cousin who could rattle off the bones and muscles groups without looking at notes or a book. She had it memorized. That's when I knew there was no future in teaching for me. I was just talking the talk.
I was just struggling through my General Studies. What made me think I was gonna meld young minds someday when I couldn't meld my own?
So eventually I stopped focusing on PE as my major.
Then I focused on something else that was virtually impossible for me to accomplish. I had plans to be a scout, coach or manager in professional baseball.
Now, there were THOUSANDS of young men who played baseball who had the experience to get into professional baseball at some capacity. What made me think I could get involved with professional baseball? (Good Lord I was DUMB!)
I did volunteer coaching around Woodland, but the kids didn't respond to me. They had no interest in what I had to say. They asked me one question on the first day of practice and I answered honestly. With my honest answer, I lost all credibility.
"When did you play? How good were you? What position did you play?"
I answered I played one year of Little League, got cut from the Jr High team but caught on as a bullpen catcher and equipment manager for the team.
With that, I lost them. I lost them when I was running through signals and one kid asked what the indicator was.
I never heard of an indicator so I foolishly asked back, "What's an indicator?"
"You don't know what an indicator is? Are you serious? What kind of coach are you?"
Mind you, I was in my early twenties with very limited playing experience.
I may as well have quit right there.
It was the most humbling, humiliating experiences of my life. That's when I knew I had no future in coaching.
I would eventually give baseball coaching another try in 1994 at my old Jr high school. I didn't do much. Just sat around and soaked up what I could. It proved to be the eye opener I needed.
I embraced baseball so much at 17, 18, 19 years old, trying to make up for lost time. I should have embraced baseball at 7, 8 or 9 years old. I didn't have the experience of watching years of baseball situations to gather knowledge. I thought being a fan would get me involved in professional ball.
So I crossed baseball off my list and figured I would become that club pro I thought I would turn out to be.
I played recreational tennis and golf. I never played on a team. I was never around the golf course or country club. I didn't know how that worked.
My tennis instructor at Sacramento City was the club pro at Natomas Racquet Club. This guy was a major asshole. Very phony and full of himself. So were his assistants. Just trying to get his attention so I could talk to him about what I should do proved to be impossible.
I so foolishly thought I could crack into the world of tennis, I bought very expensive high end racquets that didn't improve my game. When I realized I was wasting my money, I tried to sell them to Play It Again Sports on Arden Way. I walk in and mention I want to sell these racquets (about $200 each back in 1995).
The guys behind the counter were in their late twenties. Very cocky and arrogant. I explain I switched brands and I didn't need the Wilson racquets and I play Prince racquets now.
They ask, "What difference is the brand you play? Are you a professional? How much do you want for these?"
I knew what they were doing. They were trying to lowball me by embarrassing me.
I mentioned what I paid for them and I was hoping for $75 or $100 each.
They smirked and said $12.50 for both.
Now I felt really stupid. I sheepishly took my racquets and walked back to my car.
I think I eventually gave them to a guy on the Sac City tennis team in exchange for tennis balls. I needed balls and couldn't afford to buy any after buying expensive racquets.
Now a days I rarely have time for tennis.
I think back to those days and laugh.
I tried too hard. I tried to be something I couldn't be due to lack of experience.
You couldn't tell me that when I was 19. I thought I knew everything.
Now I'm happy and comfortable in my own skin. I'm not a dreamer anymore. I'm a realist. Too bad I wasn't when I was younger.