The Agony of Effeet

January 7, 2009
By Kaleigh Connors, Holmdel, NJ

Kaleigh Connors
November 10, 2008
Personal Essay
Freshman year I tried out for lacrosse. I figured I was in a new school so I would try new things. The tryout included completing a two mile run. I practiced for two weeks before it, running short distances with my brother thinking that would cut it. The day of this dreaded tryout finally came, and the first thing we did was the two mile run. I started off in the back of the pack, and that is where I remained. As we began running all I could think of was: “Why am I doing this?”
I thought: “I am so stupid. I hate running.”
I was already getting a cramp and we just started. It was about two minutes into the run and I was already tired. The rest of the group kept getting further and further away. Soon I couldn’t see them at all. I just kept run-walking until I saw a sign: “Welcome to Little Silver.”
Once I saw the sign I got nervous. I searched for someone to give me directions. Finally I saw a 7-11. This was the first time in my life when I was noticeably happy to see a 7-11. I walked in and asked the cashier directions back to the field. Just as I came out of the store I saw the lacrosse coach pull up in her car. I was relieved. Then she rolled down her window and started screaming at me and my feeling of comfort left. She followed me in her car and made me run back. The entire time I was running back all I could think of was how much I wanted to punch this lady right in the face.
When we got back to the field she continued to yell at me in front of everyone. I was absolutely mortified. The worst part about it was I looked horrible. I had this ugly knit jersey on, a mouth guard, black track pants, and my hair was a mess. I was lost for so long that I missed about three quarters of the try out, which I was extremely happy about. Then my friend’s mom came and picked us up. I cried the entire ride home because I hated it so much. Everyone kept telling me not to give up and to show the coach that I wanted a spot on the team, which I really didn’t. Needless to say I wasn’t present the next day at try outs.
Before even trying out I went to a lacrosse camp at Monmouth University. It was horrendous. First I had the wrong stick. Then whenever I had to throw the ball I threw the stick, too. I couldn’t catch the ball with the stick, so I would pick the ball up and put it in the net on the stick. At the end of camp when the parents came to pick everyone up we had to do a relay to show them what we learned. The relay consisted of rolling the ball on the ground with the stick and then cradling the ball in the net on the way back. Of course when it was my turn the ball rolled into the other team’s line, and I must have dropped the ball while “cradling” it about twenty times. Followed by that was the horrific return back from my team, as I just cost us the relay. The grunts from everyone just made me feel even worse. Everyone had those stupid rubber mouth guards in, so even the girls who tried to smile at me looked scary.
Unfortunately the lacrosse incident wasn’t my only embarrassing sports moment. In sixth grade, I was cut from the cheerleading team because I couldn’t tumble, so I decided to try out for my grammar school basketball team. Needless to say I hated basketball, too. I cried because I didn’t want to go to the practices. At my first scrimmage game I was only able to play one quarter because I didn’t feel like running back and forth on the court, and every time after I touched the ball I wiped my hands. Then came the day of the first actual game. Our jersey was navy blue so I wore a navy blue jacket, navy blue windbreaker pants, navy blue headband, and navy blue knee pads. I had just gotten my ears pierced too and couldn’t take them out, so my mom had put cotton balls and band aides all over my ears. When I got to the game they told me I could take my earrings out and play or keep my earrings in and stay off the team. I opted for keeping my earrings in.
After basketball I decided to try swimming in the summer. I was thirteen. All of my friends were doing it and it seemed fun. Everyone made the team, so I didn’t have to worry about another embarrassing tryout. The first practice came and I couldn’t dive. I spent the entire time with the eight-and-unders learning how to dive off a kick board on the side of the pool. I must’ve practiced diving about a thousand times that summer, but never successfully dove in once. It got so bad that at the meets whenever I would be next they would make an announcement to stand back because Kaleigh was diving in, or rather flopping in. After every meet I would end up with red marks on my stomach because I never ended up in the water head first, but belly first. Followed by the flop was what my coach called my “graceful stroke“, or in other words his nice way of saying I was the slowest swimmer on the team.
I didn’t swim well, but I had all of the gear. The matching swim cap, goggles, the matching sweatpants and sweatshirt, and I even had the swim bag to top it off.
The most horrendous race was the butterfly one. This race was four times back and forth in the pool. In the middle of the race I got tired so I would take a little break at the end of the pool. After each lap I stopped at the wall caught my breath and tried to cough out most of the water that I had just swallowed. At the awards dinner I didn’t get the highest points award or fastest times award. They had to make a “special” award for me—The Sportsmanship Award—because I always cheered everyone on, which has nothing to do with swimming.
Then came tennis, which didn’t last very long either. I actually wasn’t that bad at this one, but the coach ended up kicking me off. I liked this sport because it had really cute outfits and a really cute coach. One day the cute coach got me very angry, so I took all of his tennis balls and threw them down the hill and then that was the end of that one. After tennis was golf. I even went for a private lesson. I figured that golf wouldn’t be bad. Khaki pants and not a lot of sweating is involved. The first half of the lesson went well, until I had to swing the golf club on my own. I took the club, swung it, and the next thing I know it was in the air and broke the huge mirror in front of me. I still decided to go to the golf meeting at school. When we got there we had to fill out a form about golf. At the time I didn’t know that “handicap” was a golfing term, so when the question came asking for my handicap I put “none”. The coach called that night and told my dad that he thinks it would be best if I didn’t try out.
The next disaster was soccer. I thought that this would be the sport that I would finally be good at and plus my friend’s dad was the coach and my dad was the assistant coach. I figured I was sure to have playing time. I spent the entire season as the “ball girl”, which entailed me running after the ball every time someone kicked it out of bounds. I played for a total of five minutes that season and the five minutes I was in I cost us a game. It was a tie game and I was put in at defense. The girl on the other team kicked the ball and I tried to kick it out, but it ended up bouncing off my shin guard and into my team’s goal. I finally scored a point, but it was for the other team. I was immediately taken out and that was the end of my season.
After failing sport after sport I finally decided to end it. I think it’s safe to say that I am meant to be off the court and field. When I got to RBC and starting doing things I actually liked, which didn’t involve sweat, I was so much happier. The entire time I was playing one of these dreaded sports I would be critiquing the uniform or even what the people in the stands were wearing. Whenever I was in a game, or whatever, I was more concerned about if my outfit was okay than if I would get the next point. I started getting more involved in something that I truly love: fashion. I began taking weekend classes at Fashion Institute of Technology and the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, and I attended seminars at Teen Vogue. I found my niche. Picking fabrics, matching colors together, and adding eclectic accessories to a boring outfit came easy to me. I just had an eye for it. It was something I cared about and enjoyed. I began to understand that drive that athletes get for a big game. I finally had my “drive” and I was really happy. Come September of next year, I hope to be at FIT or LIM so I can make fashion my career. Plus FIT and LIM are the two places in the world where even the boys didn’t want to play sports.

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this essay when asked to write a personal essay in my english class. Struggling with sports has been something I have dealt with my whole life. I felt such satisfaction when finally finding something that made me happy and that I did well.

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