*RED ALERT: THERE ARE NO PICTURES IN THIS POST*
When I was a kid I was given the crappy task of being the captain of my 5th grade Intramurals team. To say I was not a sports fan is a gross underestimation. I was skinny and little and didn't like to get pushed around. When they made me captain of that team I shook in my boots. And then, out of a fear of inadequacy and coming in last place amongst all the other teams, I turned into a tyrant.
My team had the nicest girls on it. Why, why, why did they have to make me the captain of a team that didn't have the most athletic girls? (she said in a whiny, high-pitched voice) Why did it seem like all the other teams had all the athletes? (turns out they did) WHY ME? AND WHY THIS POOR GROUP OF GIRLS WHO WERE STUCK WITH ME?
That experience will forever be burned into my brain. I was an asshole. I yelled at those girls who actually looked up to me for having made the same mistakes just one year earlier--kicking the soccer ball toward my own net because my then 10 year old coach was screaming at my scrawny 9 year old self to 'GET IN THE GAME'. Instead of being understanding and kind and encouraging, especially because I had lived through the same, I modeled my former coach. It was terrible. After our horrendous lunchtime losses (who ever thought a group of children should sacrifice their lunch hour to team sports anyway? Duh) I would haul my team into a classroom and rip them a new hole based on my own insecurities (read: cluelessness) surrounding how to coach or guide my friends to any sort of anything resembling a victory. I was horrible.
I feel like an asshole just thinking about it. Because I was one. The biggest of ones. And even felt like one then but, due to pride and lack of experience at coaching and fear of inflated sports balls and grassy fields and whistles and striped jerseys--and that anyone would see me for the scared kid I really was, seemed unable to stop. What if they REALLY saw me?? Meanwhile they totally already did.
At one of these ridiculous gatherings I looked over and saw one of the girls crying. And suddenly I just completely deflated. Whether or not it showed externally I can't remember, but I do recall thinking, 'this crap is not worth it' and sheepishly apologizing and admitting we were probably never going to come in first place or even second, but we could at least just try to have fun and do our best as a team. And I changed from then on. Or at least I think I did, because I don't recall anymore yelling and we would high five after the games and no one else cried. Not even when we came in last in a league of 4 teams. We were probably wearing the best friendship bracelets though. Just making a point that the brutes can't always represent in the wrist-age department like we less athletic types.
Why am I even writing this after a hiatus of God only knows how long?
Because I have been buried under a pile of work after promising myself I would take it slow this summer. Instead I went against my own better judgment and took a project that probably did not belong to me in the grand scheme of the universe. Everything was moving fast, fast, fast (more to come on that later) when the requests started coming in from the client. That is usually when I've learned in the past to decline, take a step back, not worry about disappointing anyone, and take care of what needs to be taken care of. Everything will work itself out. Instead I took the project after weeks of pressure and have been paying the price ever since.
It has turned out to be a pretty dreadful experience. Even though the other things got quiet and I have been able to focus intensely on the project, it hasn't been enough. And I realized today, no matter what I do and how much I perform it will likely never be enough for them because I am reporting into my 10 year old self. An insecure person who overpromises out of fear, holds me responsible for results that have proven to be very difficult to produce, and then manages down HARD when things don't go as hoped.
I wasn't good at sports then and I'm not good at it now. Games just don't work for me and I am not a fan of making anyone feel small so I can feel big. What does that really accomplish, anyway?
Ever notice how you keep going around and around the same problem in different situations until you FINALLY learn your lesson?
Let's hope this is my last time on the soccer field with a maniac.