Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Retarded Turtle

I have known for awhile that Lizzie is uncoordinated. Her running gait is awkward as is her swimming form (which resembled that of a retarded turtle according to her instructor). And her tennis skills? Mediocre at best even after three years of lessons.

But (Yes, but!) she always enthusiastically joins sports only to become the "Lame Duck." And, it's breaking my heart. A Lame Duck is a lot like stinky kid in class - you tolerate her because you must but you don't ever choose to do so. When the coach tells everyone to pair up, the Lame Duck is left with the partner no one else wants - usually another Lame-o like themselves.

Last night, in soccer practice, Lizzie's team worked out with a team from the competitive branch of her soccer league. Well, Lizzie has a hard time keeping up in her rec league so last night's practice was particularly painful to watch. Every ball she kicked went flying past its intended recipient and out onto the vast green field. Every pass kicked in her direction went sailing past her. And, she was dead last in the dribble-run around the field. The little confidence she had seeped out of her with every awkward running step she took.

At break time, the girls all formed a circle to eat their snacks and chat with their couch but Lizzie was literally and figuratively excluded from the circle. The girls sat with their backs to her while Lizzie and one other girl made idle chit-chat. I almost cried because I used play tennis, basketball and run track in high school so I recognize the body language that screams "you're not one of us." And Lizzie so wants to be one of them. But, I don't know if she has it in her. She has the heart - no doubt about it. But, is heart enough?

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