I’m no athlete. I tried to pretend with soccer all through high school. My positions: stopper and sweeper. Mainly, I just liked playing when I was pissed because it gave me permission to shove and kick. Otherwise, while midfield pushed forward, I’d push back my cuticles. I tried LAX, but only so I’d get to wear the shirt. I was even able to choose my own number. Of course everyone on the team chose standard numbers running up to the low twenties. Except me. 69.
In the winter, it was basketball or cheerleading. Mom bought me the high-tops, and Dad tried really hard to coach me. It was useless. I was wretched. We compromised: cheerleading and tennis lessons. But first, I had to make the squad. When I first auditioned for the JV cheerleading squad, I had to perform a cheer, do a cartwheel, and fall into a split. “Adam Zipper, he’s our man, if he can’t do it, Todd can. Todd, Todd, he’s our man…” Oh, worse, even than that, “baskets, baskets, baskets boys, you make the baskets; we’ll make the noise.” My high school was too small for a football team.
Each night, I went home to practice, hoping I’d gain some flexibility, like fondled bread. When it came time to audition, I was so nervous, I literally fell into a split on the floor. I could have sworn my interior seam parted. I smiled through it; they fell for it and welcomed me to the squad. In all truth, the only reason I was on the team was for my incredible set… of lungs. The girl can belt like an opera singer. Lately, I’ve been doing some straddling.
I’ve been facilitating a difficult situation involving a close friend; the kind you fall into when you’re nervous. Ben-gay can’t help with this tear. Rest, isolation, compression, and elevation can heal a torn ligament; perhaps that goes for the heart. Usually, though, I’ve learned it’s probably a combination of a massage in a lofty, secluded suite at The Four Seasons and time. And while waiting can suck, at least you can wear a short skirt, kick up your legs and scream. I’ll hold your pom-poms. And I’ll use my lungs to cheer for you, my sweet girl. I love you.