Should of seen the cheesies.
When I was a kid, I was a fast runner. This had little to do with any inherent athletic ability, and a whole lot more to do with a gangly frame that allowed for larger strides than my diminutive-by-comparison classmates. What would take a typical twelve-year-old 100 steps could be easily accomplished by me in 75.
As such, I was invited to try out for the elementary school track team. I was a nervous wreck prior to the 100 metre dash that would decide my fate as either a future Olympic sprinter or just another schlub. After getting out of the blocks, within three steps of the starting line, I had slipped, fallen over spectacularly and taken out two other runners.
It was awful.
On the ground, with knees scraped and my head down, I heard nothing but laughter. As I looked up, I began to scan the crowd for at least one sympathetic face. As my eyes reached the two teachers in charge of this horrible track and field enterprise, I saw that they too had avoided even the slightest effort to stifle their laughter. I went home early that day because I was “sick.”
The only positive aspect found in all of this was that it happened before YouTube was accessible to cruel adolescents, and therefore the memories of my failure lasted only in the legend spun by classmates rather than a shaky video somewhere. A couple of weeks later it was forgotten by everyone, but me. I now carry this as the most memorable moment of my adolescence.
This week, on a much larger scale, there were two incidents of failure in professional sports that sparked the type of derisive laughter that sticks to a subject’s soul.