I am not embarrassed to admit that I am not exactly the most athletic person you will ever meet. In fact, some might wonder how I gather enough coordination to make it through the week. I am also not embarrassed to say that I am extremely competitive. This complete lack of athleticism has never really affected my desire to win because I do not often engage in organized sports. Let’s be honest, I run from them. Well, this past week my butter fingers and love of winning collided in the sixth annual kickball challenge between the Dean Staff and our summer interns.
Once upon a time (three years ago in the summer of 2006) I played in the third annual kickball challenge as a member of the losing intern team. Although I certainly did not enjoy the embarrassment of not winning, I didn’t really feel an attachment to the competition because I actively tried not to participate in the game. I simply was deathly afraid of getting hit in the face by the rapidly approaching rubber kickball. I ran away from all passes coming my way and fouled the ball to get out of my turn in the kicking rotation. That worked as an intern, but being a member of the super-cool Dean Staff was enough to encourage me to actually try this time.
Try is exactly what I did. Getting to our pre-arranged kickball battlefield early, I paid attention to the rules, strategies, and necessary skills to win this elementary school classic. Attempting to overcome my fear of falling on my face or getting a concussion from a 25mph kickball hit to the head, I played the game with as much ferocity I have in my bookish 5’3” frame. It worked! In the first two innings of the game I not only caught a ball and got an out for our team, I also made it on base and would have (I’m sure if the next kicker behind me had not gotten the third out for that inning) made it home for a Dean Staff run! After those two sweet moves, I felt like Barry Bonds hitting his 762nd homerun. Maybe not like Barry Bonds, but I did feel like an athletic success and most importantly, I was proud to make a positive contribution to our team’s performance. Now it was time to get a bit more confident. I was actually making substantial plays and was on the winning dynasty team. This was bound to be a victorious night.
My short lived enthusiasm was squashed when the intern team built up an eight run lead over our ageing dynasty. The talented group of 11 made it happen with quick plays, balls kicked out of the park, and slick moves I’m not even sure are legal in the world of kickball. As the score ticked up in the interns’ favor my feeling of accomplishment dramatically descended into the familiar feeling of being the last kid picked on the recess field. By the end of the game, the interns had won and our team had gained a general feeling of disbelief. Even though most of us looked sad to have lost for the first time in six years, I didn’t feel like a loser at all. Watching the interns pull together in a streamlined attack against the Dean Staff was an awesome display of teamwork developed in only a few short weeks of working in our office. Their well oiled kickball machine taught all of us a lesson in how to work effectively as a single unit and the importance of bringing you’re A-game in any situation. The night was a success after all.
Even though our dynasty was dethroned and there is a new group of interns in town with bragging rights, all was not lost. Conquering my fears of the speedy rubber ball was enough of a personal victory to help me ignore the embarrassment of not leaving as a champion. I’m actually looking forward to next year’s challenge and the chance to watch another group of interns prove their strength, athletic prowess, and learned teamwork. I just hope they don’t have the kicking legs this year’s group possessed.
– Amanda Norris