Lifestyle Sports Uncategorized

To All the Sports I’ve Played Before

Ten years later…

By Jenny Jia ’23

Remember when the popular kid used to be the fastest runner in the grade? That was me. There was a time when I could out-pace all the boys and girls in my grade as we ran on the gravel field.

That was ten years ago. 

I would like to think that my athleticism isn’t defined by a second-grade hundred-metre dash. Since then, my mom has signed me up for all sorts of sports over the years, hoping one of them would be the one. It’s been ten years, so I take this time to reflect on all the sports I’ve played before:

Figure skating (Grade 1 – Grade 4)

Still my favourite sport. Spins, shoot the ducks, spirals, sit tucks. I was a waltzing snowflake. This is the only sport that I continue to look forward to watching at the Olympics is figure skating. Each push off the blade transforms into a silky glide across the ice, which lingers and drifts until the next. I remember dragging my mom to Cyclone Taylor Figure Skating to buy a sparkly purple competition dress in hopes of dancing to the Frozen soundtrack in a bleacher-filled rink. I never got to wear it. I quit before I even began. 

Golf (Kindergarten – Grade 5)

Why did my mom drive me to Musqueam Golf and Learning Academy one random summer day? 

“To learn how to do business.”

The green was where deals were made, according to her. So I invested every summer in learning how to do business. I partook in tournaments, junior tours, and eight-hour sessions at the driving range. Each summer’s progress built upon the last, and soon enough, my golf club collection grew too. My mom was thrilled, rest assured. But as September approached, I had to bid farewell to this summer affair until June rolled around. Worth the wait? Yes. Each day on the course was spent driving carts, catching a tan, and watching the sun set over the Fraser River. Golf and I officially parted ways when my mom decided I was ready to go out into the world and do business. If you add up all the months, I spent less than a year playing. Short and sweet.

Swimming (preschool – Grade 6)

I still recall my first encounter with a pool. Saints Senior School, floaty, kickboard. I loved pretending to be a mermaid swimming underwater, which unknowingly improved the dolphin kick component of the strenuous butterfly. This sport was a win-win—I would learn a basic life skill while preparing for a snorkel in Hawaii. I would spend my Saturday evenings doing laps in a spa pool guided by a grumpy student-volunteer. Despite her ill temper, I found myself looking forward to each swimming class in the refreshing water. All good things must come to an end, though, as the facility shut down. And just as I was about to complete the last Red Cross level. 

Basketball (Grade 5 – Grade 10)

It was only natural that the tallest girl in grade 5 joined the basketball team. And to be honest, I was decent. Emphasis on was. There was this certain pre-teen aggression that was so easily unleashed on the court, that, paired with my height, made an undefendable match. That didn’t last very long, however, as I had my summers booked with summer camps that sparked a newfound disdain for the sport. Playing with boys made me wish I had never picked up a basketball. I was shoved, stepped on, and systematically on the receiving end of a ball to the face. Sure, I was aggressive, but I wasn’t particularly tough. This was when I started to yearn for the lush July afternoons on the golf course. Basketball seemed to be something that my mother, peers, and teachers had encouraged me to pursue, but that pre-teen aggression meant that I never listened to authority. YML still asks me why I’m not on the team this year. The truth is, I never felt a draw to the game as I did with other sports. 

Volleyball (Grade 5 – present)

The social sport. Weekend tournaments, ferry trips, motel sleepovers in Kelowna. Making friends from different grades, schools, and even cities never felt so easy. You could play it with friends on the beach or in the snow on New Year’s Eve (a lived experience). But I slipped up. As I grew older and advanced out of the junior school ISEA “free ball!” phase, volleyball required time and patience to be able to become the sport. I pulled my weight in the early stages, playing for a club, competing outside of school, and waking up at 5 on weekdays to train at the Oval. But eventually, as school consumed my schedule and redirected my attention, I realized that this sport that I had dedicated my life to could no longer become my priority. I couldn’t give it my all anymore as I faced the challenge of commitment. Of course I still love it just as much as when I had successfully made my first underhand serve back in the day. I just think I crossed paths with the right sport at the wrong time. 

After having my first crush on swimming, a summer fling with golf, a passionate affair with figure skating, unrequited love with basketball, and a star-crossed situationship with volleyball…

I now hold the honour of having the lowest mark in my PE class. 

A lot can change in ten years. Yet I am still thankful for all the sports I’ve played before. 

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