Stand up and be counted

Myredtree left a comment on my blog “Here’s who I am” urging me to share more of my life stories to let people to discover more about me.

This challenges me because I have always been guarded with my feelings and my stories. But here goes……………………

In high school I was good at throwing and catching a ball and each year I tried out for the diamond throw team that competed against other schools on sports day. I enjoyed playing this sport and loved being in the team.

One year a new young teacher started as our sports coach. Miss Bradley was super competitive and trained her teams extra hard to win at all cost. She drilled us to improve our times and strive to be better than the other schools.

Slowly but surely I started to doubt my abilities in such a competitive atmosphere. My confidence started to dwindle and I felt nervous every time I had to throw and catch the ball. I buried these feelings and didn’t share them with anyone.

On the day of competition the teacher was enthusiastic about winning so that other schools would admire her reputation. She kept telling us that we were the best and the other teams were losers. We were not allowed to talk to people on the other teams. Miss Bradley told us that they were the enemy.

Finally it was our turn to go on the field to compete. When I got out there my heart was thumping out of my chest with nerves, I was so anxious to win for Miss Bradley. The whistle blew to begin and I missed catching the first ball which blew our chances of winning in a split second.

As we were coming off the field Miss Bradley screamed in my face in front of everybody “you dropped the ball, you are pathetic, you are an embarrassment to our school, you’ll never be in one of my teams again”.

These words hit me like a blow to the face. They shattered my confidence in my teenage self. Her words were vicious and cut deep into my heart.

I don’t remember anybody coming to me for support, which reinforced her words as being true to me.

I didn’t try out for the diamond throw team the next year.

It took a long time before I volunteered my abilities for anything after that because I feared a repeat of public failure and humiliation.

If my coach had nurtured self-confidence, encouraged the enjoyment of the game, and of being in a team, maybe my heart would have one less battle scar.

I have never told this story to anyone before.

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