I played city softball for three years with my younger sister, and it was pretty much a disastrous experience for me — one around which I felt much shame for many years. In three years of playing, I only hit the ball once.
Part of the reason I kept playing was because of that secret hope, every time I stepped into the batter’s box, that this would be the time my bat would connect with the ball, this would be the time all those admonitions to “keep my eye on the ball” would make a difference, this would be the time everyone on the bench and in the stands would be surprised.
But another — even bigger — reason I kept playing every year was because of the annual fundraising competition. It turned out that what I lacked in athletic ability, I made up for in salesmanship. In spades. Three years in a row, my sister and I won the grand cash prize for the most candy bar sales in the entire league.
I was so proud of that accomplishment.
Side by side, these two realities sat: shame and pride. They taught me much about myself, for good and ill.
What activities and commitments were part of your growing-up life? How did they impact you?