Yesterday, when my friend Jean emailed me to ask if I wanted to be her badminton partner in a Mpls Community Ed Co-Rec league, I did a little happy dance at my desk. I love playing badminton and I'm actually pretty good. This fall, Jean and I will be spending Monday night in the Southwest high gym, mowing down the competition.
"Badminton!?" You ask, "What kind of a loser plays competitive badminton!?"
Me. And people - it's not the first time. I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm used to be a huge nerd. Not only was I on the badminton team in high school, I was on the exhibition squad. No, that does not mean that we went streaking through the gym with rackets, it means we weren't good enough for varsity... or J.V....or J.V. B squad. Good old Burnsville Senior High had a three-time State Championship badminton team when I joined in the ninth grade and they were on their way to a fourth, so there were a lot of wannbees like me who signed up and ended up spending most meets in the hall outside the gym unwrapping Starburst in our mouths (much to the chagrin of our orthodontists) with the hope that someday it would improve out make-out skills. This was all very unnecessary and ironic as none of us were obviously going to be making out with anybody. It's okay, go ahead (if you haven't already) and make an "L" with your fingers on your forehead.
When I wasn't playing badminton, I also enjoyed soccer and skiing. I missed a lot of social events for skiing. People would just forget I existed in the winter because I was gone every weekend and, between the homework and practices, there wasn't really any time to catch up with friends during the week either. I would get invited to stuff in the beginning of the year, but then people would finally give up, and come the late winter and spring dances, the invites had ceased completely. The first time I went to a dance was when I accompanied my friend Emily to Homecoming. She had to go because she got voted the honor of singing the "Homecoming song." But she didn't have a date. I wore one of her sisters old dresses, we showed up, she sang, we stood by the wall for a while like we were in a cliche scene from a Molly Ringwald 80's flick, and then we went to her house and watched movies with our hair in fancy up do's. The next year she became Homecoming Queen and I ended up at home again watching movies at home with less fancy hair.
What probably solidifies my role as uber-geek the most, however, was my role as President of the Science Club. Well, that and maybe a few other things like the peer-tutoring, National Honor Society membership, Science Quiz Bowl, or maybe Yearbook... which I only participated in because I was sick of them getting the nordic and alpine skiing pages confused every year. It was the coolest thing I had going for me and the least they could do was label it correctly in the yearbook. But the Science Club thing was really what did me in. I had a reputation and it stuck. Now, I am becoming a science teacher, and I don't know that I will ever attain my goal of becoming one of the cool kids. I really thought I had shaken the nerd status in college when I started buying pants with appropriate inseams and started getting invited to parties again... but alas, I cannot deny who I really am. I am a geek. I've even decided to start attending what is really just an adult version of the science club. It's called Cafe Scientific and it's at the Bryant Lake Bowl. I am super excited because we get to talk about science, but also because cool kids hang at the BLB and maybe they will notice me in the hall and say hi.
So, I guess all I want to say is that I have come full circle. I am back in the science club. Back on the badminton court. Still missing parties to go skiing. I am a nerd and I am proud of it. And despite all the social awkwardness, I found a very cute boy that is just as geeky in his own way, and we have a pretty good time together just geeking out. I realized this last weekend, as I was working on my physics homework and noticed him sitting on the couch, reading about Caravaggio, listening to NPR and wearing his safari hat. And then last night he told me he was going over to friends house next week to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons. Match made in heaven.