Friday, May 21, 2010

Tiger Woods and Zumba

Originally published 2/19/2010 at
We didn't watch football in my house when I was growing up.  (All of my Oklahoma readers, go ahead and gasp in shock now.  OU was not our top priority, and our world did not revolve around the game schedule.  Actually, it's still nowhere close to being a priority for me.  Now my mom, on the other hand, now that she's back around all of her OU crazed family... well, some things just can't be helped.  I'm still praying over it.)  Every Sunday afternoon, as soon as my dad came home from playing his round of golf, the television was always on the Golf Channel.  I can't tell you anything about any other sport (I didn't know what a down was until last fall, and I'm still not sure I get it.  Couldn't explain it to you to save my life, but I was at least informed as to the nature of this "down" thing.), and I don't care about any other sport.  I can, however, tell you the nickname of every professional golfer who has a nickname.  Jack Nicklaus is the golden bear, Arnold Palmer is the king, Ben Crenshaw is gentle Ben, Byron Nelson's nickname is Lord Byron, and Sam Snead was slammin' Sammy Snead, Lee Trevino is the merry Mex and his fans are called Lee's fleas.  There are so many more, but I'm not going to list them all here.  But it's not just the players, it's the game itself.  I know what a birdie is, a par, a bogey, eagle, double bogey, triple bogey (that's a bad thing, just a by the way), and I understand the scoring, the clubs, all of it.  There are so many rules of etiquette.  You never walk across somebody's line on the green.  Absolutely never.  Whatever the worst thing is you can do in football -- of course, this isn't the greatest analogy because football doesn't really have rules of etiquette -- that's about the same as walking across somebody's line on the putting green.  It means that you've walked between their golf ball and the hole.  You know the teeny tiny little hole on the green that they're aiming for.  You know.  No, you probably don't, never mind.  I'm the only one.  This is why I don't talk about golf much in normal conversation.  (And for those of you out there saying that a conversation about golf is in and of itself is not normal: shut up.  And I mean that with the greatest love and respect and also a nice friendly slap on the cheek.)  But to get back on topic (or as close to one as I ever am on here) I grew up watching, playing, and loving golf.  My dad used to take my brother and me out to the golf course; we would drive the cart while he played.  He took us to the driving range.  These are a few of my favorite things, and I still miss them.  Now more than ever, actually, now that I'm actually letting myself think about them again.  But I digress.  Sort of.  All of this being said, here's a little piece of information: I've never been a Tiger Woods fan.  I was not raised to be a Tiger Woods fan, and here's the explanation.  My dad had a couple of problems with Tiger.  One, he cursed on the golf course sometimes (my mom really had a problem with this, which just added to my original not-so-positive impression of him as a child).  Golf is a gentlemen's sport, and the rules are: no cursing during the game.  Second, my father told me about a less than positive encounter one of his friends had with Tiger Woods when delivering a car to him.  My dad just didn't care for him, and as a young girl, of course, I agreed with Daddy.  And for the most part, I still do.  I think Tiger Woods has done a lot for the game of golf.  He's brought so much attention to the sport, and I think that's fantastic.  He is a very talented athlete and obviously has a gift for the game. (For all of you using the words "gross understatement" right now, hush.  I'm still typing.)  So, when the "incident" (I'm really not sure what to label it, and incident works as well as anything else, in my opinion.  And it's my blog, so it's all my opinion.  I think I like this thing.) happened last November, I wasn't exactly devastated, or disappointed, or affected in any way.  I didn't have any sort of fanship (I used it.  It's a word.) invested in him.  What I felt was extreme sympathy for his wife and children, and for him.  This family's personal drama was being splattered all over the world, for everyone to speculate over and discuss like it was somehow their business.  Which if you think about it is kind of what I'm doing.  What I want to talk about though (You didn't really believe there was a point to this, did you?  Ha!  I can always bring it back around.)  is Tiger's public statement today.  As the newscaster said, this was a very well-scripted statement.  Everything was carefully written (I listened carefully for any grammar errors, and was pleased not to hear any.) and delivered carefully as well.  My impression: the statement was carefully delivered because it was so personal, that if it wasn't controlled, it would have been too hard to get through.  Tiger was very personal in this statement.  Here are some of the things that impressed me.  He didn't tiptoe around the issue.  He came right out and said, I was wrong and I'm sorry.  But even more than admission of the mistake, his acceptance of the responsibility for what happened impressed me.  I don't like taking responsibility when I screw up.  Admission of guilt and picking up the pieces afterward are two things I absolutely hate.  I don't like to be wrong, I hate admitting that I'm wrong, and I hate trying to fix things after I mess them up.  Tiger stood up there and said, it's my fault.  I did this.  He did this on national news.  Millions of people watching.  I have to applaud that sort of courage.  Courage isn't just being brave and macho, in my mind.  Courage is the willingness to admit that you're not perfect, and you need help, the desire to try and make things right.  The Golf Channel commentator said something very important after Tiger spoke: We're not perfect.  And here's the kicker, for me.  How would I feel if I was in his place?  If I had to do what he did today?  I am not without sin and I'm not going to throw a stone.  Another important thing the commentator said: he's a private citizen.  The public isn't paying his wages, and doesn't really owe any of us anything.  He didn't have to do this today.  And the commentator's right, he didn't.  The fact that he did, to me says a lot about his character and desire to make things right.  The entire statement impressed me, including his fierce protection of his family, of his wife's reputation and his children's privacy and safety.  I didn't even know that he was making a statement today, it's just what came on when Regis & Kelly was over.  I didn't know what to expect, but I can tell you I was not prepared to be impressed.  I was slightly cynical when I started watching, thinking about some of the reasons my dad gave me for why he didn't really like Tiger.  But as he spoke, my opinion almost immediately changed.  I may not have been a fan before, and he's still not necessarily my favorite golfer (I've always been an Ernie Els fan, myself.) but I was a fan today.  It's always interesting to me when the golf world grabs people's attention, because I've had such a personal investment in it since I was a little girl.  It's been a strange, sad story to follow since last November, but I'd like to think that maybe the world can move beyond this and pay attention to Tiger and the game of golf for the right reasons.  Let's focus on the game, and the skill, and the almost courtly nature of the game -- that etiquette and respect that is so necessary to making this sport worth watching.  I never sit down to write this blog and actually write about what I thought I would.  I was supposed to talk about my first Zumba class in this post.  Instead I'm talking about Tiger Woods, and golf, and how much I love the game and my memories of sharing golf with my dad.  But I guess as long as I'm still sitting here typing I can talk about that too.  It is my blog after all.  ;)
     Last night I went to my first Zumba class.  I didn't really know what to expect, and because of my latest back muscle drama (which is still going on) I was a little worried about whether or not I could do the class at all.  I've taken aerobics classes before, as well as yoga and pilates, and I've done some workouts with belly dancing DVDs.  Thank goodness, otherwise I might not have been able to keep up.  Some of the moves in the Zumba class were fairly familiar -- grapevine, repeater knees a couple of times, and a couple of others -- but there were others that were completely new to me.  I would just like to say that it should not be that much fun to shake your booty or do the shimmy.  But in fact, it was, even though it's not like I have the firmest butt around that would look good while I'm doing all of these hip moves.  Was that too much information?  You should have been at the class with me last night.  That's too much information about  people and their derri√©res (I need ketchup on these eggs).  All joking about the posterior area aside, though, I don't think I've ever had that much fun exercising before.  I'm not exactly the most graceful person in the world, but I have just learned a little bit of ballroom dancing and really enjoyed it, even if I wasn't exactly the belle of the ball.  I think part of the reason I feel awkward is because I'm not completely toned and firm and perfect, or at least what the magazines say is perfect, and so I feel funny when I'm trying all of these sexy Latin dance moves and know that it's probably not what a lot of people would call attractive.  I've heard different opinions on my weight, anywhere from I've got gorgeous curves to if I could just lose the weight I'd be beating the boys off with a stick (thanks for that one by the way).  Most of the time, I'm fairly okay with my body image, but I definitely want to be healthy and take care of myself, and I really would like to lose the weight and not have to work so hard at buying cute clothes.  Hence, the Zumba class.  And as awkward as I would normally feel in that situation, and as awkward as some of it was, at the same time, I'd never felt quite I allowed to use the word sexy here?  As weird as that sounds, it's true.  My image of myself as we danced and shimmied and shook started to change as the class continued.  I got used to what we were doing, started mastering some of the moves, and the next thing I knew I was really getting into it and feeling like I was a sexy dancer and that there wasn't anything unattractive about my body after all.  It was a pretty big ego boost and I have to say, I don't want to let that feeling go.  Zumba became one of my top priorities last night.  I'm lucky enough to have a gym that I can actually afford a pass to, and I get to go to Zumba class about twice a week now.  I think I'm going to try some yoga classes as well and get some stretching in for my muscles.  Oh, and you're probably wondering about why I keep mentioning pain and muscle problems.  Here's the big bad secret, that I've really only just started talking about recently.  I have fibromyalgia.  What is it?  It's basically the diagnosis they give you when there is no other explanation.  What does it mean?  It means that since I was fourteen I have had chronic aches and pains and muscle tension and tenderness.  If you poke me, tap me, squeeze my arm, anything like that -- you're hurting me.  And it really hurts.  I used to get laughed at when I was younger because people would poke me and I would tell them that it hurt and they would laugh and say no it didn't, it was just a poke.  For me, it's never just a poke.  It's instant pain, and then a growing ache that lasts for a few minutes after I've been touched.  My back and arms are the worst, and because of how tight my muscles are, even standing or bending over a task can turn painful very quickly.  Besides just the muscle problems, I also deal with horrible aches in my legs.  This flares up especially when I'm tired, but fatigue isn't necessarily a requirement.  It's just a horrible ache that nothing helps and it won't go away until it's ready.  Wednesday night is when I really messed up my back this time, and messed it up badly enough to have some small muscle spasms -- and it's been years since I've had spasms -- and all I did was sit in one position, upper body slightly turned to one side, and now I have a horrible, painful knot in my back that hasn't gone away yet.  That's what was worrying me about Zumba.  It was bad enough on Wednesday night that I was almost non-functioning because I could hardly move.  Fibromyalgia is my other big motivator with these Zumba classes.  There's not a cure, and the only medical treatments -- if you're not tired of pills, which I am -- have serious side effects that I don't want to deal with.  But exercise is supposed to really help with fibromyalgia.  I knew a lady once that had fibromyalgia and she said that even though she still had pain, if she didn't exercise she wouldn't have been able to move.  It looks like that's what my body is trying to do to me, and I'm not going to have it.  And what better way to try and help my body than by spending an hour in a sexy Latin dance aerobics class?  I can't think of one.  I think any treatment that involves improving my body image and making me feel attractive and sexy is a pretty good treatment.  We'll see how it goes.  It also gave me a couple of interesting ideas for the characters in my novel.  One question a friend had asked me was do your characters know how to dance?  And I thought about it and instantly knew that one of my characters could dance, and could dance well, in terms of ballroom dancing.  But I wasn't sure about my heroine.  It kept bothering me until the Zumba class, and then I got it.  She may not be a great ballroom dancer, but she definitely knows how to pull off some of these hip shaking salsa and cha cha moves.  So I've decided that this skill needs to be included in the novel.  There was already going to be some ballroom dancing, but after the Zumba class I've decided there's going to be a different style of dancing incorporated into the scene as well.  I'm excited about it.  I think you'll enjoy it.  I'm enjoying picturing it in my head.  :)  All right, I started this blog quite a while ago, and unfortunately I have to go and accomplish other things with my day.  Things like cleaning, actually drying out my hair (probably the reason I'm sitting here shivering as I write), and eat something for the first time today.  Maybe I'll have some eggs.

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