Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

I Am Not a Dress-up Doll

By
More by this author
“But you’re a girl and girls don‘t play sports like boys do!” my mom said to me standing in her high heels with pointy toes. She then fixed her blonde hair with hair spray, freshened up her pink lipstick and roused her cheeks with blush on her tan skin as I made a funny face mocking her. My mom clothed me in pink flowered dresses and nice white sandals with polished nails when all I wanted to do was get dirty and throw the baseball with my brothers. My mom forced me to be a girly girl until the day I picked up a stick.

Ever since I can remember, I wore a pastel dress, with my hair tied in a big bow matching the color of my outfit on the top of my head and today was no different from the rest. Once the back door opened, the perfect play doll I looked like was soon covered with dirt on my knees, scuffs on my shoes, my hair knotted with leaves and twigs, and my hands covered in mud because I was trying to keep up with my brothers. I could see my mom looking from the window puzzled because I was always playing with the boys. She did not understand why I wanted to be outside running around rather than inside drawing or making colorful bracelets like as a child she remember loving. Who would want to stay inside and play with dolls, when you could be throwing a frisbee or playing wiffle ball? But nonetheless, every day my mom would dress me up, like a doll when I was only trying to break out of the girly shell she was forcing me into.

The worst was going to my brothers’ games. I got to watch them play either baseball, basketball, or football with a team. I expressed to my parents how badly I wanted to play a sport. Not surprisingly my mom signed me up for dance classes, which I did for seven years. I would be lying if I said I did not love it, but at the same time, it was not the team I wanted. I fought every time I had to put on my tights and leotard, kicking and screaming about how much I did not want to go to class. After clothing me, my mom struggled to brush my hair in order to make a tight ponytail. Then came the bobby pins, which felt like sharp knives pinching my scalp. I looked at my brothers grabbing their new shiny bats with a smile and never noticed this hatred to go to practice that I had. When my brothers were out on the field they smiled happily in the sun excited to see my parents and me watching them. Once my older brother was in the outfield and he caught a ball that could have been a homerun letting three runs be scored on the other team. My parents and I, along with the team and other spectators, cheer with excitement that he just caught the ball. The catch was also the third out and as my brother ran back to the dug out I saw the excitement and happiness on his face. Even after losing that game, my brother never stopped talking about that play he made. I wanted to be that excited about dance, but never was. At nationals one year, I was in a trio and my hat, which we were using as a prop in the dance, fell off making me nervous and confused on what to do. I smiled and hoped my dance teacher was not going to yell at me, which she did. The trio won a platinum and the judges really liked the dance, but my teacher never let me forget every competition after that, that I had dropped my hat. We received the highest placement in our age group, which should be something to be overjoyed about, but still I did not feel happy because I felt bad about dropping my hat. I did not feel accomplished, I just wanted to do something that was fun all of the time.

In seventh grade, I was not interested in dance anymore, and my mom knew that she could no longer morph her twelve year old daughter anymore. My mom did not want to see another day of me in misery at dance, so she silenced herself and let me decide what I wanted to do. Now, more than ever, I knew it was my chance to get out on a field and play a sport. My friends were going to field hockey tryouts one afternoon, and I decided that I was going to join them, not knowing anything about the game or how to hold a stick. After the first tryout, that was it. I was hooked on something I never knew I could love that much.

All I ever wanted want to do was play or hit around, even if it was just passing back and forth. I asked my teammates to hit the ball with me on weekends or stay after practice and shoot. I observed very closely how the girls flicked and maneuvered the ball around other girls and into the goal. No longer did my mom have to ask me to get ready for practice. I begged her to take me to the field early and had all my equipment ready to go. I even played at home, just hitting the ball against one of the trees in my backyard. Once, my mom came out to see what I was doing and asked, “Why do you want to play field hockey all the time, even by yourself?” I looked at her and the only answer that came out was, “I don’t know. It is just fun.” I smiled and kept hitting the ball against the tree. My mom, speechless, returned inside to paint her nails knowing deep down that I was no longer the flowered dressed dancer she tried to raise.

As I entered high school, the first thing I did was play on the school team in the fall. As a freshman varsity starter, I had confidence I never found with dance or any other activity. The coach depended on me as the sweeper to save the ball before it entered into the goal. When the other team did score, like in our HK home game my freshmen year, I looked up with disappointment and hung my head, my captain called my name and said, “Kim you’ll get her the next time! Do you see how big she is!” Although we did not win that game, my captain opened my eyes and gave me the passion to work even harder in practice and my free time to succeed in getting them that next time. After taking a sixteen yard hit and hearing my mom from the side lines say, “Wow, she can really hit that ball” I looked over to see her in her heels and smiled. As I continue to play now, I fall in love every time I pick up my stick, just like that first day. The North Branford coach, a stranger at the time, noticed my love for the sport and pulled me aside after one game in my junior year and said in her bubbly voice, “You are such a great player! Even when warming up, you are more focused and ready to play than any other girl out there, plus you can rush that ball on corners like no one I‘ve ever seen!” The coach from North Branford inspired me to play on a club team year round, and I was even fortunate enough to go to Arizona this November and play in the National Field Hockey Festival. I see field hockey being a part of my life forever.

Even since that one day my friends encouraged me to tryout for the team, I have realized that I am me, not my mom. She did raise me, but I am my own person. Every time I play field hockey I am reminded of the love I have for the sport and for being myself, but also the dislike I have for being a girly girl dress-up doll.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback