When I was in junior high school, I attempted to play basketball. I didn’t even have to try out for the team. The coach took one look at me and said, “You’re on the team!” If only she had let me try out, it would have saved all of us immense embarrassment. I am tall and have legs and a neck that a giraffe would be envious of. And, it hurts to write it, I am African-American.
My coach saw all of her dreams coming true. We would make it to the county playoffs (went to school in Wheeling Illinois ) and then on to local and then regional and maybe even state. I was the only black girl on the team. Wait, I was the only black girl playing in that district!
After the first practice, my coach knew that she had made a mistake. First, I have exercise induced asthma (“If you make me do sports, I will have a Kreislauf problem!”). I didn’t know it beforehand, but one trip across the basketball floor and doing bleacher runs told me that my lungs were not amused at what I was putting them through. Second, I am not the most coordinated person and I am ever so slightly ditzy. However, my coach took on the challenge. She was convinced that there was a svelte lioness hidden under that maroon and gold gym outfit. How wrong she was! Disaster struck as early as our first game. I officially received the nickname tippy toes.
If you know the rules of basketball, you are not allowed to move both of your feet at the same time if you are holding the ball. It’s call traveling. My team called it tippy toes on the move. To my dismay, my moves were even caught on film once. That was when I decided that I wanted to be a dancer! With moves like that, I was sure I would sweep the ballet world. Did I already mention that I am really tall and that ballerinas aren’t? Since this blog is not entitled dancing with the stars, you can figure what became of that dream.
Today, however, I am quite proud of my tippy toe moves. During my third tennis lesson this morning, I was able to put them to use and was even encouraged to do so by my instructor. Freedom at last! My feet can move and do what they want without being ridiculed or told to settle down. My instructor calls it my Elvis moves. I prefer to be nostalgic. I am, and will always be, tippy toes.