My Greatest Sporting Achievement


I have had a long and storied career when it comes to playing sports.  As a pitcher in little league I was able to beat the undefeated “Rockies” because my pitches were too slow to hit, and once broke my thumb while playing catcher during a particularly easy round of batting practice. These achievements, as well as being repeatedly thought of as a girl by opposing teams (my long hair which I thought made me look unique apparently also made me look feminine in a baseball cap), create a sports story worthy of a Michael Lewis biography.  However, my greatest sporting achievement unquestionably came during my time as a player for Lincoln High School’s Junior Varsity tennis team.

Since tennis was a spring sport, the ice cream man would often drive by the courts while we were practicing, and sometimes my friends and I would take a break to get some ice cream or frozen lemonade.  While many of my teammates tended to forego this practice on days when we had a match, I found that my interactions with the ice cream man were a crucial part of my tennis preparations.  On the day of one particularly important match (few things in life are more significant than JV tennis) I purchased my frozen lemonade but did not have time to enjoy it since we were immediately called to line up in order to be introduced to our opponents.  While the coaches announced each team’s top players who would be facing one another, slowly making their way to me in the “fourth doubles” spot, I realized that I would have to put my lemonade down in order to meet my challenger.

When my name was called I begrudgingly placed my drink down on the court and approached the boys I would be facing.  As we shook hands, one of my opponents said “Woah, your hands are cold.”  In that moment a wave of coolness and clarity washed over me, and I was able to see the world for what it was: a malleable toy that was mine to play with.  So, still grasping the boy’s hand I leaned in close to his ear and whispered the coolest words I have ever said in my life:

“It’s because I have ice in my veins.”

Then I let go and walked away.

I won the match that day, as well as the love and affection of all my high school peers.  Only half of that last sentence is true, but a boy is allowed to dream.

(Illustration courtesy of clovedog/