Sports And Me: A Brief History


I grew up in Manhattan. I didn’t grow up in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx or even SColOrchard_Ataten Island. I make that distinction as part of an excuse. In the other boroughs you at least had open fields or parks somewhere around you. In upper Manhattan you didn’t. Okay, so there was Central Park, but honestly, would you really say let’s play ball and walk 20 blocks or more to the park? Hardly.

My earliest memory of being actively engaged in sports was probably playing any game that involved the sidewalk and either a piece of chalk, pennies or a rope. I was probably decent at those games, but how hard was it really to double-Dutch (for hours)? I’ll include bike riding in here also, as I rode from the way upper part of the island to Times Square many times—in the street. Now, it’s boutique to be a bike rider, back then it was just something you did. And, any bike would do. But then, I got older. The games changed.

In my early teens, I had the opportunity to go to a city pool, indoors. I won two races. I was expecting a trophy. All I got was, “Okay next.” Not only was the water and air cold, but so was my reward. That was the last time I swam laps. You can’t look good when you’re freezing.

Much later on, I thought tennis would be a nice sport to indulge in. Those outfits are so cute. So, I went and made myself a complete white outfit that actually flared out when you twirled. I even had the sun visor. With no lessons, a friend (who actually knew how to play) and I started smacking those little fuzzy dots around with great swagger. I missed a lot of hits—almost every ball—but I still loved how I looked. If sports is part psychological then I was a grand slammer for certain. After two games that ended, and I called it retirement.
I tried intense walking. The fear of dogs attacking me crippled colorchardthat idea very quickly. My outfit for that adventure was realistic: sweats and light makeup. There could be a photographer around so you must be prepared. How else do you think those photos end up in the papers?  My emergency supplies included water, a band-aid and lipstick.

Then along came the gym. This seemed like the perfect sport for me: there was a TV right in front of me. I really liked this activity. There was no cold or hot weather to deal with, no animals to pounce, you had immediate access to entertainment and you could look good—or so I thought. Sweating is not an attractive look. The fact that I took a shower before going, and then took one when I came back was just not working. But, my outfits were cute. Apparently, I’m not a long distance runner. Treadmills give you false confidence.

I finally found the sport that totally fulfills all requirements for a healthy lifestyle. Shopping. It’s something you can do no matter where you are, no matter how you are dressed, no matter how you’re feeling, and no one keeps a scorecard on you. And, you do burn calories, or so says my doctor and my Fit Bit. This Manhattan woman knew she had it in her somewhere. It took my charge card to activate it.

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M.E. Orchard is a columnist for Levittown Tribune.


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