Friday, July 31, 2015

Ya Don't Have to Be an Athlete to Be a Great Sport

Thought for the day:  If at first you don't succeed, bungie jumping may not be the best sport for you.

Let's face it. We can't all be Olympic-caliber athletes.
There are the elite folks... you know, the ones who magically jump OVER the bar... and then, there's the rest of us, the ones who consider ourselves lucky if we don't have to be carried off the playing field on a stretcher.

I fall somewhere in the middle, so I guess that'd make me... mediocre.


Then again, I never, like, lost my head over sports. I had fun with them, but no college recruiters ever lined up outside our door for the opportunity to beg me to sign me up for their teams. Was a pretty good bowler, and am still pretty good at shooting, both with a cue stick and a gun. Cross country stuff? No thanks. I always preferred a dash. A nice burst of speed, and then you're done with it, and back home in time to read a good book.


Jump rope and hula hoop? Not bad, but don't ever ask me to do multiple things at once, because although I'm only a mediocre athlete, I'm an Olympic-caliber klutz. As a teenager, my favorite aunt liked to call  me Lurch. And while my friends and I were waiting to go onstage to get our high school diplomas, three of my closest friends told me the same thing: Don't trip!

I credit them for preventing me from doing just that.


Oh, wait! It just hit me...

This post isn't supposed to be about me and my athletic prowess, or lack thereof. It's supposed to be about someone else and her athletic... or not-so-athletic... side.

It's about Joanne Faries, and her latest book, which is being released... today! I had the honor of reading it a few weeks ago and let me tell ya, it is some kinda good. Funny as all get-out, too. Anyone who can remember the agonies of da feet and defeat from ye olde gym class days will especially get a kick out of it, but I think there's something here for all readers, no matter how high or low their athletic skills may be. One thing that really shines through for me in this book? Joanne may not be the best athlete in the world, but she's gotta be one of the world's best sports. That gutsy gal is willing to try just about anything... anywhere. And no matter what happens, she has the ability to laugh at herself, dust herself off, and try all over again. She's the Energizer bunny... with scabs on her knees and a smile on her face.

How's about a peek at the front cover... and back blurb? (You're gonna have to buy it to see the stuff inside!)



She stood, frozen, at the edge of the diving board. At an early age, Joanne Faries demonstrated absolutely no athletic ability. In Athletic Antics, her latest humorous memoir, the author describes riding her bicycle into the back of a car; climbing trees and sliding (not on purpose) down them scraping every inch of her body; plus surviving the duress of junior high field hockey, lacrosse, and volleyball.

YMCA swim achievements (Tadpole, Minnow, Fish, etc.) were halted by the diving board and the teacher nemesis, Ruthie. Would Joanne move on to accomplish Flying Fish and Shark? Could she squint enough to see the other end of the pool?

There are men who sing hallelujah upon the birth of a left-handed son, a future Hall of Fame pitcher. Left-handedness can be a blessing or curse. In archery class, being left-handed did not result in a murder, but it came close. In regards to tennis, Joanne's initial serves baffled her opponents and nabbed a few wins.

Joanne used every English teacher pass excuse possible to work on school newspapers or yearbook, but sooner or later she faced the horror of gymnastics and had to inch her way across the four inch by sixteen-foot balance beam of death. Track and field was not her forte, nor was basketball, soccer, or any sport involving one's hands and/or feet.

As a follow up to her memoir My Zoo World about her fear of animals in an animal loving world, Joanne Faries looks at her athletic life in quirky fashion. Laugh at her foibles, identify with her unattractive gym class attire, and fall off the ski tow rope (on the wrong side) with her. Athletic Antics covers an assortment of sports, and according to her Wii Fit Plus, Joanne Faries cannot walk a straight line.

You can buy it HERE. (So whatcha waiting for...?)

***********

Sounds good, doesn't it? (It is!) The lovely Joanne has also written several books of poetry,  been published in numerous magazines, and contributed some of her wonderful poems to Old Broads Waxing Poetic, a collaborative effort which benefits CARE International. (She formatted it, too!) (Our hero.)

Good luck with your new book, Joanne! Break a leg. No, no! Wait! Don't break a leg... be careful, girl. You've got a lot more writing to do...

                                                       Okay, y'all. I'm outta here.



                                    Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

I had a mother who taught me there is no such thing as failure. It is just a temporary postponement of success.  [Buddy Ebsen]

72 comments:

  1. Sounds like my kind of book. In one of my high school gym classes, we "played" tennis, which meant at first we stood inside and used our rackets to smack the ball against the wall and hit it over and over. The weather warmed up, and we moved outside to the tennis courts. I tossed the ball in the air to serve, was blinded by the sun, and the ball hit me in the face. Everyone laughed, including the teacher. I never had a gym teacher I liked. I was never the very last picked for a team, but it was close. I really hated gym class. I remember a girl who could do the splits on the balance beam. I was jealous at the time, but I don't think she ever graduated from high school.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. thanks - I think you'd definitely laugh out loud at many of my gym moments.

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    2. It was lousy of the teacher to join in on the laughter, Janie. (I would have tried reeeeeeally reeeeeeeally hard to keep a straight face...)

      Somehow, I don't think the ability to do splits on the balance beam went very far in preparing that gal for a career.

      I think you'd really enjoy this book, kiddo.

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  2. Congratulations Joanne.
    I am definitely a world-class tripper and dropper of balls. I can swim though. A bit.

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    1. I can swim, but don't put me on a diving board. And thanks!

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    2. Better to have a superior intellect than the ability to walk across a room without tripping. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)

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  3. I've never been even close to having athletic ability. I do like the thrill of competition and I got that through dance.
    Congratulations to Joanne on her new book. I hope it's a whopp'n success.

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    1. thanks. I'm just happy my book is out there and I hope it makes folks laugh

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    2. Manzie, with your incredible grace and rhythm, I would have thought you'd be a natural athlete in some area. Especially gymnastics. I can easily imagine you doing some of those rhythmic floor routines.

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  4. It's not always a good idea to be consistently and conspicuously agile. Athletic ability is deceptive, and cumulative. I saved all mine up to fall off a 12 foot ladder 4 years ago and land unhurt.

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    1. Dude, if only we could be like human capacitors, and able to store agility for later use. I'm sure glad it worked for you.

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  5. Sounds like a very funny book.
    I remember gym class, where I always tried to melt into the walls so I wouldn't get noticed. Luckily for us, gym classes weren't part of the "grading" curriculum, I would have failed for sure.
    I did love the folk dancing classes though. They weren't a regular thing, we just had to learn several dances to perform at the school open day.

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    1. I'm the one dancing in the wrong direction, messing up everyone else's beat

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    2. It IS a funny book, River. I think you'd enjoy it.

      Wow! You didn't get a grade for gym class? Lucky you. The only time I got better than a C in that class was if a good portion of the grade was based on written tests.

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  6. Hi Susan - love the photos you've used ... I'm just glad I haven't experienced any of those falls, nor had Joanne's experience of sliding down a tree - sounds very (excruciatingly so ) painful.

    Good luck with the book/s ... and a great idea for an Antics book ... cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. Susan found the best picture. Thanks much for the good wishes

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    2. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the pics. Ah, HA! So YOU'RE the agile athlete among this bunch, eh? (Good for you!)

      Cheers back atcha!

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  7. Thanks Susan for this excellent blog post. I didn't know I'd be the full feature today. Wow!!! I'll let you be my marketing person. Thanks again for your superb eagle eye editing. You're the best!

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    1. Well, of COURSE you get a whole post to yourself, silly. I hope you sell a bazillion copies of your book. :)

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  8. haha sounds like a fun one indeed. Unfortunately I've taken a ball to the face a time or three, most of the time because I wasn't paying attention.

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    1. the brain might say duck, but the head does not react

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    2. Pat, your comment reminds me of an old song by Peter, Paul, and Mary. It's called "Right Field," and it's about a kid who's stuck out in that position, where he daydreams and "watches the dandelions grow." ( At least, he doesn't get hit in the face, though...)

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  9. I was not athletic myself... I have a balance beam horror story in junior high... her story sounds funny.. I bet a lot of young people could relate and we all need to laugh at ourselves a lot more than we do... sometimes we take ourselves too serious ♡

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    1. it's taken me a lot of years to be able to look back and laugh. Guess this is therapy - I'm just sharing it with the world

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    2. Sorry about the balance beam horror story, Launna. I hope time has softened its edges a bit, and at some point, you'll even see some humor in it.

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  10. In school I was so uncoordinated it wasn't funny. Playing in the yard, I could climb the trees with the best of them, loved football, baseball, any game really. Never feared anything, climbed rocks with ease, traversed anything anywhere.At fifteen I even painted the trim on my grandparents three story house, grandpa held the ladder (now I'm afraid of heights-get vertigo- go figure. No I'm not old just scared). But put me in gym class or an organized game with my peers and I froze. Ridiculous!
    Love the sound of Joanne's book. I'm in awe of anyone who can write about real life, I shy away from reality. LOL :)
    And hey, your were at the top of my feed today! Yay!

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    1. Organized sports was just too darned confining for a free spirit like you, kiddo! I think kids benefit as much, if not more, from free and imaginative playtime as they do from playing on a team with strict rules and guidelines.

      Woo HOO! At the top, baby! At the top! :)

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    2. thanks Yolanda. I have trouble writing fiction. I spin my reality into humor.

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  11. Congrats to Joanne on the release. It's great that a memoir was written about this. Sometimes I felt alone in my nonathleticness. I was always relieved to see someone else in gym class who couldn't hit a ball correctly or who wasn't fast at something. I do solitary things like lifting weights and cardio, but sports aren't for me.

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    1. There were a lot more of us who didn't excel in athletics than there were who did. Maybe that's why the jocks thought they ruled in school? That's okay. It's the nerds who rule in real life. :)

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    2. Medeia - we could have been best friends in the back of the gym class. Thanks

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  12. Congratulations to Joanne! I have next to no athletic abilities, so I think Joanne would come out ahead of me. I can't wait to read this new book. :)

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  13. I really can relate to Joanne Faries - I hated gym class, I was a klutz, and horribly non-athletic. During my last year of high school, gym class happened to be on a Friday afternoon. At that time, having your period still was a valid excuse from gym class (I know, crazy...). Since by that time, we were able to write our own excuses (no parental signature needed), I had my period two or three times a month...LOL.

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    1. HA! And you got away with that? Good for you!

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    2. that is funny and ingenious!

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  14. Love the excerpts. Sounds like a very funny book.
    I hated sports. My weak grip on the javelin, saw 30 of my class mates as well as my teacher, dropping to the ground as it swung uncontrollably in their direction. And that's before I even threw it! And what life lesson does climbing rope in gym class, teach us for the future?

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    1. Javelin? You threw a javelin in gym class? Yowza. We mostly threw balls...

      What life lesson does rope-climbing teach us? Let's see. How about ... never mind. I've got nothing. I DID learn something from the trip back down, however: Use your legs, and don't let the bloody rope slide through your hands. (And I'm not using the word "bloody" because you're in London, either... the bloody thing had BLOOD on it by the time I reached the floor!)

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    2. thanks. And I am with Susan - a Javelin?? Wow!!! Lord knows what kind of trouble I would have had with that.

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  15. Hi, I’ve been a long-time reader of your and just wanted to share something? Please email me back. Thanks!

    Angela
    angelabrooks741 gmail.com

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    1. Hi-ya.

      Thanks for reading. How's about if you email ME? There's an "email me" badge in the side bar. :)

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  16. I have to read this LOL. I am the world's worst athlete (truly - it's been verified by many experts) so I know this will speak to me. Thanks for sharing about it!

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    1. You and Joanne may have to discuss the matter, because she's in the running for that "worst athlete" title, too. :)

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    2. Yep - Julie - I'll race you to the title of "worst athlete". Then again, racing involves sweating. Never mind. Let's share the title.

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  17. I played softball, volleyball, and lacrosse in high school. Now, I can't even ride a bike. However, I think sports are valuable to kids, in that they learn teamwork. Monster wants to play volleyball this year. I took a look at the schedule for practice and games -- I guess my laptop will be attached to my hip. Too much wasted time sitting around waiting.

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    1. I think physical activity is very important for kids, too,and being on a sports team is an excellent way to teach them the concept of teamwork, but it isn't the only way. Our daughter wasn't at all athletically inclined, but she learned teamwork through Scouting, church activities, and volunteer work.

      Both of our sons played on numerous sports teams, and for multiple years. It was quite a juggling act for Smarticus and me to get them to all their practices and games, especially when the games were on opposite sides of town at the same time.Then there were all the other extracurricular activities for them and our daughter, plus our OWN activities, and sometimes I wonder how we managed to handle it all so well. (We don't miss it, though!)

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    2. I appreciate the lessons learned back in the day, and now I actually do make some effort as shown in the book - tennis, swimming. I'm just not great at organized sport that involve team expectations.

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  18. I'm no good at physical activities. But now I need to do at least some physical activities for health reasons.

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    1. I know what you mean. Too bad we can't keep our bodies in shape by exercising our minds. :)

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  19. We love a good humor novel. Sounds like a great story! I'm athletically gifted as long as it doesn't involve any kind of equipment. I can run, I can jump, I can box, and I can do it endlessly without getting tired. All of that is my bread and butter. Ask me to throw a ball, or catch one, or hit one, however... and I look like a klutzy toddler. Sure, I could try to throw you that ball, but since it won't go more than 10 feet, it might just be better if I mailed it to you.

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    1. HA! That pesky equipment...

      I don't reckon they'll be asking you to throw out the first pitch to start the baseball season any time soon. :)

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    2. I sure hope not.

      Just think of me like 50 Cent. Sure, I look athletic. Maybe even tough when I need to be. But ask me to throw a ball and you'll probably get this...

      50 Cent throws first pitch

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    3. That video is hilarious! (But I'll bet you writer guys would do a lot better than the rapper... at LEAST a 75 cent throw...)

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  20. Who went white water rafting with 129 other people last weekend and was the only one who got hurt? In the first 5 minutes, no less? Yeah, that was me.
    It pretty much sums up my experience with all things athletic.

    I CAN ski. I but I also tore my ACL doing it. On my honeymoon.

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    1. Oh, you poor thing. I hope you're okay.

      I've gotta admit; tearing your ACL on your honeymoon isn't the most romantic thing I've ever heard, but at least the injury didn't scare you away going back to the slopes.

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  21. Congrats Joanne! I'm super good at watching sports. Sometimes I'll even watch golf. Everyone needs a good nap ;)

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    1. HA! Yeah, I'm a great watcher, too. :) (But not golf...)

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  22. Joanne's book does sound good. I wish her much success!

    I'm not very athletic, although I danced ballet for years, injured a joint in my middle finger playing catcher on a softball team, and skated myself into oblivion.

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    1. It IS good! Very entertaining.

      I dunno why, but I never would have pegged you for a ballet dancer. Very cool. UGH! Those middle finger injuries can be very... funny as heck. (Sorry.)

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  23. Me, athletic? Look up coordinated in the dictionary and you’ll find my photo. Beside it, two words: “Not this.”

    Congratulations and best of luck to Joanne!

    VR Barkowski

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  24. BEFORE I realized this was a shout out for Joanne...I thought to myself, Susan should read Joanne's book. Okay...a little late to the party, but congratulations to Joanne! And, a few of those pictures really made me cringe!

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    1. Glad to hear it! If the beginning of this post made you think of Joanne's book, it must have done its job well. :)

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  25. I've never read a sports related book, mostly because I'm an epic klutz and can only do sports that do not involve teams or running, but this book sounds pretty interesting!

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    1. Trust me, this book is entirely different from the usual sports-related type book. Matter of fact, I think she should've dedicated it to all epic klutzes. :) I think you'd enjoy it.

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  26. what a completely awesome post! i enjoyed every word and the book sounds fabulously funny!!

    happy hump day!

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    1. Thanks, Tara. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I'm pretty sure you'd enjoy the book, too.

      Um, happy day after hump day!

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  27. LOL! Oh my goodness, I LOVE that picture at the bottom of the stairs. Here's to not being as athletic as we'd like to be, but still being awesome.

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    1. Yep, being a star athlete isn't the only road to Awesome-ville. (Thank goodness!)

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  28. Hehehe the first pic made my day. And I know what you mean about not always being the best at sport. I still enjoy certain sports, though. :-)

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    1. Thank goodness, there's plenty of room in athletics for enjoyment without having to be the best. (But I don't have anything against winning, either!)

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