Yep, that’s my new middle name – HUMBLE!
Bestowed upon me as I recently devoured a huge piece of Humble Pie.
Have I mentioned that I’m NOT an athlete? Not in any way, shape or form. Never have been. Most likely never will be.
Kickball served as my greatest nemesis in elementary school. I had the wind knocked out of me while playing Red Rover. And softball? Forget it!
I had to run laps in high school to demonstrate my level of physical fitness. Other girls LAPPED me because I ran so slowly. And that came with my best effort! My only D was in that phys ed class!
(Oh, wait. I also had one in Geometry. But that was math, which I stink at, so that doesn’t really count.)
Fortunately, my current life does not require much athleticism. I converse about the final four. I can watch football, baseball, even soccer with some level of intelligence. And that seems sufficient for those sports nuts around me.
Except for my main squeeze – John Franklin.
He has mentioned several times how much he’d like for me to get interested in biking. I’ve reminded him that biking is his outlet. His personal time for reverie. Why would he want to destroy that with female company that wants always to chat?
But he is a persistent man!
So last Saturday, we borrowed Joy’s bicycle (complete with baby carrier) and headed to the trail.
The sun shone; birds chirped; the breeze blew; temperature hovered around 75. A perfect bicycling day for novices and experts alike.
We headed out; Frank offered small coaching tips and encouragement. But Spencer’s handle on the baby carrier was causing great distress in the area of my derriere!
I tried to describe my level of discomfort to Frank but he just kept nodding and saying, “Uh huh. I can see.” Not the answer I wanted – at all!
He did finally figure out how to move the bar; giving me full use of the seat. And believe me, I needed FULL use of the seat!
After that, the ride actually became rather pleasant. (Please refer back to “sun shining; birds chirping” paragraph.)
We rode on, stopping each time my legs cramped or my bottom demanded. And I started enjoying myself. Frank gave a steady commentary about the trail and even shared stories from past rides he’d taken solo or with John.
I could see myself doing this on a semi-regular basis.
Then, it happened.
I made the mistake of asking how far we had ridden. “Three miles,” he said.
My little calculating mind (never still while I’m in a waking state) began to figure.
If we ride one more mile, that will make the round trip eight miles. Frank’s first bike ride three years ago was ten miles and we cheered like he’d won the Tour de France. Surely I could do eight!
Now, “not athletic” does not mean I’m not competitive!
- One young lady swore to never play a board game with me ever again because of my competitive streak.
- Frank and I almost called off our wedding due to a Monopoly game that went rogue.
- Inability to play volleyball well doesn’t stop me from challenging the opposing team with noisy rhetoric.
Okay, so I have a rather serious character flaw. “Hi, my name is Sheri and I’m competitive…..”
So, back to the ride.
My legs were starting to hurt a bit and I knew that this was only the beginning of the pain I’d be experiencing the next day. I really should give up and turn around now.
But hey, that’s why they invented Tylenol, right? I was going to make eight miles! I was determined!
Frank began to say, “Honey, we’ll turn around any time you’re ready.”
“No, I’m good. Let’s just ride a little farther.” I could smell the joy that would accompany the completion of that eighth mile!
“Must get to mile four before turning around! Can’t quit now! Just……Keep…….Pedaling!”
When we reached the fourth mile, I silently congratulated myself. Please remember, Frank had no idea of the thoughts rambling around in my head.
The trip back seemed to have a decidedly uphill slant; much tougher than the first half.
Not a problem. I was mentally up for the challenge. I kept my focus on the moment that would come when we were all sitting around the dinner table and I would casually point out that my first ride had only been two miles shorter than Dad’s first ride.
It would indeed be a delightful moment. I could hear the congratulatory comments already. The entire family would cheer!
One short mile from the finish line……er, uh, from the car……we had the choice of repeating a side trail we’d taken at the beginning.
Frank could see that I was pushing hard, so he suggested that we skip the extra trail.
Skip it? That would keep us from making the eight-mile marker I’d set up in my head.
My response was a bit too emphatic and he glanced over at me. “Well, uh, that was a pretty spot. I’d like to ride back through there again.” The huffing and puffing blurred any edge of competitive inflection.
I can see you shaking your head already. Yep, brace yourself. Ever heard the scripture, “Pride goes before a fall”?
We turned smoothly onto the side trail without even slowing down. Frank complemented my improving skills. I beamed. Victory called from just two short miles away!
Another bicycling couple approached from the opposite direction. I casually lifted my hand to wave a greeting and flashed my best “preacher’s wife smile”.
Casual became careless. And in that instant, all of life went into slow motion.
I didn’t see that Frank had slowed for the curve. My front tire clipped his back tire and the future became immediately clear – I was going DOWN!
SELAH. (Which means: stop and consider.)
My favorite capris will become shorts this summer due to the large tear just below my left knee. The bruises have turned multiple shades of purples and yellows. The Neosporin and bandages I’ve kept on hand for John became MY friends. And things have ached that I never knew I had.
Sure glad we have a good chiropractor!
And that, dear friends, is my confession for the day. Confessing is good. Dealing with a character flaw is even better.
Gotta go change my bandage now.