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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Tuesday, June 25 2002 

Rejection and sports

It's ironic that for several years, now at 60, I have been working out every day at an athletic club, which is a fancy name for a "coed gym" with extra amenities like a snack bar, aerobic dance room, personal trainers, swimming pool, enough tennis courts for a national amateur tournament, spas, steam, sauna and exercise classes. It's ironic because there's no where else in life that I feel more rejected and alienated than the gym. Since I can't count on maturing much more at my age, I guess it's safe to say those attitudes are not something I'm likely to grow out of, having had them from childhood.

Besides having had a father who wasn't interested in sports (other than hunting), the only brother who lived at home when I was reaching school age didn't want me tagging along, so never taught me any games or athletic skills. I probably reacted to that perceived sibling rejection by not even wanting to know such information, which only compounded my problem when I was required either by play circumstances in the neighborhood, extended family get-togethers, or school, when I was inevitably the last one picked for any team. As though that wasn't mortifying enough, I was the most likely to be hit by a ball or duck when one was thrown to me rather than catch, carry, or dribble it.

I've observed not long ago that if I had seen a sports bloopers show at age 10 my life would have been different. Then I'd have known I wasn't the only one who did stupid things during a game and would have had some examples of how to react when they occur. But if there were any such collections of professional and collegiate sports films in those days they were probably reserved for showing at stag smokers.

At the gym, now, there are no invitations to join a team or compete; apart from tennis (which I've never tried), all the physical activity is on machines and solitary. I have as many first-name acquaintances there as anywhere I go these days and even consider some of them friends, but there are also more people I see face to face on a day-to-day basis who seem hostile than anywhere else. About half of the regulars smile and say hello; the other half avoid eye contact or scowl, and seem competitive even about who's going to get to use the equipment next. There, more than anywhere else I've frequented in life, the lines of rejection and acceptance seem clearly drawn. There have been rare exceptions, like when one who seemed to be scowling for years offered to teach me some weight routines. But, generally, I know who to greet and who to avoid.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

You may be a redneck if... (2002 edition, series)

You took a fishing pole to Sea World.
You go to the stock car races and don't need a program.
You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.
You have a rag for a gas cap.
Your house doesn't have curtains but your truck does.

— Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

When one prays, the prayer should become one with the heart,
just as you stick two objects together with glue.

Before anyone starts a project, he must first pray to God, "Illuminate me and give me strength." And when the project is finished, he should say, "Glory to God!"

—Father Tychon, a Mt. Athons monk
Sent by Christopher Haas

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