I’ve never been what the people call athletic. With Se as my inferior function, I can have a poor conscious awareness of the physical world around me. With Si buried well below that at the very bottom of my stack, I often have a poor conscious awareness of my own body relative to my thoughts and the world around me. This has lead to a lot of bruises and a long history of humiliation.
P.E. class was the bane of my existence as a child. I used to get sick the night before and dread going to school on gym days. I remember once as a 1st grader, we were all laying in lines on the gym floor to do sit-ups. The teacher was screaming, but he was always yelling. Apparently that time he was yelling at me. Suddenly he grabbed me by a foot and dragged me into place – it seems I was out of line.
I was sensitive and easily injured. I spent P.E. class trying to keep out of the way of all the moving objects in order not to be battered by them. Dodge ball was a nightmare. I would hide in the back so as not to be hit by a red rubber ball being hurtled with all the might the young boys could muster. Once one or two people were hit out, I would flee to the bench, pretending I was hit out.
Once in sixth grade someone picked me first for their team. I was mortified! I figured they were hoping to make me feel better since I was always picked last, but I always felt bad for any team that got me. Picking me first just called everyone’s attention to the fact that I was a curse on whatever team drew the short stick. The only consolation was that there were other short sticks so we were divvied out among the teams.
I would do my best to ensure I caused the least harm to my team by removing myself from play as much as possible. In softball I would go so far outfield I could barely see the pitcher. When my team was at bat, I would keep getting up and going to the end of the bench to avoid having to strike out. Sometimes the teacher would force me to take a turn at bat. The worst was if I accidentally hit the ball (bunted it) and was supposed to run. I always twisted an ankle when I ran and there was the risk that the ball might hit me when thrown to the first baseman, or said baseman might over violently tag me out.
In floor hockey I could never be goalie, thankfully, since I wore glasses. I would put myself in the middle of the floor where the least important action took place. If the puck came near me, I would move to let someone else get it. My main focus was to avoid the running people and swinging sticks. One time the puck came my way and there was no one nearby to leave it to… but they were coming! I realized that I must get that puck as far away from myself as quickly as possible and then flee the scene before the oncoming stick-wielding children plowed me over.
Suddenly there was an uproar and everyone was yelling and congratulating me. Apparently I made a goal from the middle line. I didn’t see it because I was too busy trying not to be trampled. This is something that happens to me now and then. I rarely make an ordinary hit/basket/goal/catch/putt/volley/etc if I’m trying. But then out of nowhere, once in awhile when I’m not trying at all, I’ll make a hole in one, a behind the back billiard’s pocket, or three point basket.
Yoga has helped me become more body aware and hiking has strengthened my ankles. But I’m still athletically inept and advoidant of competitive sports. One summer my brother taught me how to throw and catch a baseball. That was amazing, to have someone actually take the time to work with me on building a basic skill, rather than throwing me in the middle of a game and saying, Go! No one’s been successful in teaching me to toss a Frisbee though, and those behind me better watch out!
Fortunately I’ve learned to have a sense of humor about my clumsiness and, as an adult, no one can now force me to “play” sports. But it caused me an inordinate amount of anxiety and stress as a child. The point being, some people are not going to be kinesthetically competitive. It is a brain wiring thing, not something that we can get over just by trying harder. It would be fantastic if that were accepted as a way of being and not a defect. What if we didn’t torture our less coordinated children into competitive sports? What if we let them get exercise in less humiliating and physically harmful ways? What if we encouraged them to develop their own skills without shaming them for not having others?