You know when someone starts a story off by saying “there was this girl” it is going to end badly. At least in my experience, most of the stupid things I have done have been because of a girl. Do not worry, my stupidity has a broader scope than just women, but I do find that most of those “What was I thinking?” moments can be attributed to me trying to impress a girl. There was one moment that resounds very clearly in my memory though.
So there was this girl. I was probably in my early teens at this time, if that. She was my first crush. She was visiting from Georgia and for the most part that was all I knew about her. I knew her name but I can’t even remember if I had been brave enough to ask or if someone had just told it to me.
It was Memorial Day and we were having a picnic at our Church as is our annual tradition for the last Monday in May. And sure enough, she was there. This was my moment, my opportunity to shine. Carpe Diem, right?
A volleyball game had started and I noticed she was playing. So of course, I made my way into the game as well. I wound up on opposite sides of her, but I didn’t mind. She would see how good I was and…
You know, I don’t really know what I was expecting her to do. Was I going to sweep her off my feet with my mad volleyball skills? Was I going to woo her with an impressive overhand serve? Looking back, I realize it was all pretty foolish of me. But I wish that was where my foolishness ended. Sadly, no. I had one more idiotic card to play.
I found myself finally on the front row after following the rotation for a few minutes. She was a row back on the other side, but she had a clear view of me. Everything slowed down. I knew it was now or never. Time to go for the knock-out blow, the Signature Seth.
In a moment of crystal clarity, I decided to try and touch the bottom of the volleyball net with my right foot while keeping my left foot grounded. That’s right. In my mind, that was the winning move. The Signature Seth. Honestly, I have know idea what I was thinking. First, I am not a limber guy. Secondly, how would that impress anyone, much less the “lady of my dreams”?
And maybe that would have been fine, maybe I could have recovered from that, but no, I wasn’t done. While my right foot was making its triumphant ascent to the volleyball net, my left foot decided to go all Brutus on my plans and completely betrayed me. It went right out from under me and the next thing I know, I am pin-wheeling to the ground.
I landed flat on my stomach with a thud, knocking my breath from me with very masculine “oooof”. Let me just say that there is no way to look cool when the wind gets knocked out of you. I felt tears burn at my eyes and I gasped for air like a drowning sailor.
To make things worse, she hardly even noticed. I wanted to say, “Hey, I just knocked all of the wind out of my lungs for you. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” I am a romantic. But I didn’t say anything. I just picked my way over to a bench and sat out the rest of the game wondering where I went wrong. After that weekend, I never saw her again. Maybe she married a volleyball stud, some dude who can kick the bottom of volleyball nets without completely wiping out, but I doubt it.
So there was this girl, but you know what else there was? A really stupid decision, a really high volleyball net, some very hard ground and a very bruised ego. All the makings of a true tragedy.
(photo courtesy of Fdimeo/Dreamstime.com)