‘You’ll always beat the bad guys’

It’s another foggy morning in the bay area. It almost always heats up by noon, when there’s not a cloud in the sky. As a child and high school student, I found the weather deceptive because my parents would force me to bundle up every morning before class. At 7:30, we still had ice on the car windshield. By lunchtime though, my jacket did me no good. When I come to northern California to visit, I put on a hoodie and nothing more. No coat necessary here.

Yesterday, I met one of my childhood best friend, Nikita’s son Brandon. He’s almost two months old now but observant as ever. She’s lucky to have a laid-back child, as the rambunctious ones are exhausting.

Later that day, I babysat my toddler nephews, Lukey and Sawyer, both of whom are wild and full of energy. When I arrived at my brother’s house, the boys were napping, so I let them be for twenty minutes or so.

After they woke up, I suggested we play outside. They asked me what sort of sports I enjoy and I said rock climbing, jogging, swimming, and yoga. They were unfamiliar with the concept of yoga, so I explained that it’s a meditative, highly physical exercise that aims to increase flexibility, strengthen the core, and cleanse the mind. When they were still confused, I said yoga is all about tangled positions and balance. Moments later, we migrated to their front yard to play a game.

Somehow, little Sawyer roped me into catch. I’m about as athletic as a 5-month-old infant, at least when it comes to competitive sports, so Sawyer figured out quickly that I’m the last person with whom you want to play baseball.

After several minutes of swinging the bat at a ball that never reached him, Sawyer said to me, “You know, Aunt Lala, you would always beat the bad guys. You throw so bad that you’d never give the other team the chance to hit the ball, so you would win.”

This 4-year-old saw right through me and exposed my childhood P.E. class secret. Because I loathed group sports so intensely as a kid, I’d do everything in my power to avoid involvement in the games. In other words, I was a proud poor sport. During baseball, I’d run as far out field as possible so I’d have little to no contact with the softball. Like I said, competitive sports made zero sense to me. I was more interested in the personal development of running, rock climbing, and swimming laps than the teamwork of tossing a ball to someone on first base.

Unsurprisingly, Lukey feels the same way. As Sawyer and I played catch, Lukey held onto a plastic container of food and said he would rather “wait [his] turn” to play baseball than get into the game right away. We both agreed sports can be mindless and pointless. In many ways, Lukey and I are one and the same. We’re both the youngest siblings in our immediate families,uninterested in competitive sports, and softspoken but strong-minded and emotional. I look forward to seeing what they’re like in a few years.


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