The Water Girl

by Jane Moneypenny

When I first moved here, I jumped into anything that could throw me into situations to make new friends. Despite my painful shyness, I tried my best to always go for things and not say no.

One of these things was – let’s call it basketball (it’s not, but go with it). The friend that I was staying with happened to be co-captain of a recreational team. Needing to work out and make friends, I joined despite having no skill or experience whatsoever. There’s a out-of-town competition next week, so I got thrown into the middle of intense practices. 3 times a week, often early on Sat mornings and after work on Wed. I’ve pushed myself pretty hard and been incredibly enthusiastic about the whole experience, including designing the team shirts.

I’ve been to every single practice (barring one on Saturday due to driving a U-haul back from New Orleans) since I’ve moved here, only to find out today they were only going to put me in one game. As in, the entire weekend is filled with about 7 games, but he’s putting me in one. On Sunday. On a team of 25+, I was the weakest girl. There has to be a min of 8 girls on the all times and we happen to have 9, so guess who’s the weakest link?

Since I got the email this morning, I’ve run the gamut of emotions from anger, embarrassment, stupidity and disappointment. I get it. I really do. I’ve been in the leadership role before and having to make those kind of choices is hard. I don’t agree with their decision at all, but it is what it is. In the past in similar situations, I’ve gone with the “fair and right” choice, even if it meant the group not being it’s shiniest or most polished. I had always felt it was about the individuals and the experience gained, but this situation is different. And I’m competitive, so I get it. But it hurts badly and a part of me is so tired of putting so much into everything I do and only have it come out with a few crumbs.

But that’s life, right? I always wondered the mentality of Olympic athletes that train their lives away to be the absolute best, but sometimes not make the team with a difference of 1 second. And as NBC always waxes on about those come-from-behind stories, those athletes just train harder and come back. So yeah, the “rah-rah” thing to do would be to push myself harder and continue to be who I am, enthusiastic and passionate, even if I’m the damn water girl. Be my best at the one measly crappy race.

I have no regrets; I couldn’t have pushed myself harder than I have or done anything different to be better. It’s been a great challenge and I’ve made new friends from it, but I’m also human and right now, I feel like a loser. It’s middle school all over again and I’ve been picked last.