Tuesday, September 18, 2007

In Your Face

I wasn't always what you'd call a very assertive woman.
You could have called me a little mousy, and I'd just nod and agree, "Yeah, that's about right."

Back in the day, I played a lot of volleyball.
Even dated some volleyball players.
At the very least, I batted my eyelashes at a great deal of them.

So, one day, when a hunky volleyball player asked me if I'd like to play on his team in an upcoming co-ed tournament, I said, "Okay."
(Not "Hell, yeah!" because I just wasn't that gutsy yet.)

We'll call this guy Tom the Bike Guy, because he was the manager of a sporting goods shop.

Tom the Bike Guy gathered together all his friends... and me... and wanted to practice a couple times before the tournament so he could see our strengths and weaknesses.

Tom was hoping I'd be his second setter.
It's the position I played in high school (because my coach said I was too short to ever be a decent hitter), and that's the position I usually got on pick-up teams.
Tom and I both thought I'd be just fine.

Well, I sucked.
I sucked big time.

Meanwhile, the first-string setter Tom asked to play was a starter on the college team.
We'll call her Really Good Setter Babe.
Because I know when I'm outclassed.
(It happens quite often, I've learned to recognize it quickly.)

She had hands like butter.
I don't think she even touched the ball half of the time. She just waved, and like magic, the ball went where she wanted it to go.

Anyway, this is a way-too-long explanation to say that I sucked, she rocked, and everyone on the team could see it.

Tom was very forgiving and told me that he'd seen me play and he knew what I was capable of. So not to worry about it, I'd be fine.

However, the other women (barely women, they were all in college while I was clearly five years older than any of them and so deemed "old") behaved very much like catty little girls trying to feel better about themselves: They banished me.

"Giggle, whisper. Sh! Here she comes" kind of stuff.

The tournament itself went no better than practices.
It was like my hands were made of lead.
I sat on the bench.
A lot.
Getting ignored by the other girls.
But only when they weren't sneering at me.

After one particularly dismal game, with tears in my eyes, I pulled Tom the Bike Guy aside and told him that I was going to go home. I wasn't playing well. He had enough players, he didn't need me. I knew the other girl could set circles around me.

"What? No! Don't go!" he begged. He felt bad. "Just stay, please. Just in case."
He so sincerely wanted me to stay, so I stayed.
You know, because I was a mouse.

I went to the cafeteria for some lunch. Sat at a table big enough for six people. It was empty except for me.
All the others girls came in, collected their food and looked around. One of them made eye-contact with me and smiled. She gestured toward my empty table and said, "Hey..."
But the Really Good Setter Babe yelled loudly, "There's a table!" And they all trooped across the room.

Sloppy Joe tastes really sucky when it's drenched in salty tears.

Then all the guys from the team came in.
Tom lead the bunch. Really Good Setter Babe waved and called to him.
He grinned and gave a jerk of his head in acknowledgement to her, then he said...


AND THEN HE SAID, "Let's sit here by Roses."

And my empty table was suddenly filled with guys.
All guys, and little ole me.
NONE of them sat with the other girls.

You should have seen those girls' faces.
I'm sure they saw mine. I made sure of it.

Later in the tournament, the one nice girl who almost sat with me was injured. It was minor, but unfortunate.
She couldn't play anymore.
She was an all-around kind of player, but I could play her position just fine.
In fact, I played her position better than I'd played all day.

If I hadn't been there, they'd have had to forfeit for lack of female players.
Tom thanked me for staying. Nice Injured Girl thanked me for staying.

However, Really Good Setter Babe harrumphed through the rest of the day complaining that she was tired now that she had to play continuously without a relief person (me) to give her a break.

Oh, boo hoo.
Give me a break.

You're a whiny jerk, and boys like me better.
So there.

No, I don't hold grudges.
Why do you ask?


Mrs. Who said...

That's not holding a grudge...that's instant karma!

Richmond said...

Ditto what Mrs. Who said... Yay!

Lemon Stand said...

LOL. Nah, I wouldn't hold a grudge either. ::walks away whistling with fingers crossed behind back::