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The World According to NARP: Vol. 1

Sep 19, 2013, 4:08 PM EST

This is the first installment of “The World According to NARP,” which will hopefully become a weekly piece from me. In it, I will discuss my life as a NARP (definition later–so keep reading!) and the Notre Dame athletics happenings of the week.

Disclosure: I’ve come to realize that when men are self-deprecating, it’s funny, but when women are self-deprecating, they’re “fishing for compliments.” I am a woman, but I am not fishing for compliments in my self-deprecation. You can laugh. I won’t be offended. It’s like my parents always told me: If you can’t make fun of yourself, you can’t make fun of anyone else.

NARP (also N.A.R.P.) acronym, noun : non-athletic regular person; someone who does not play competitive sports.

I’m a NARP. With the exception of my short stints with various sports, I’ve always been a NARP. Now I find myself reminiscing all my memories of those short, but always educational, stints.

My first trial was with soccer. Most kids start with either that or T-Ball. I vaguely remember going to a soccer camp, and quickly realizing that I hated soccer. You want me, a kid with asthma, to run around a giant field and get my shins kicked by girls who actually know what they’re doing? Uhhhh, no thanks. The only good thing that came from that soccer camp was the “Lady Tigers” t-shirt I got for participating, but I outgrew that shirt in probably less than a month anyway.

Second came soccer. Wait….what? “I thought you said you hated soccer, Anna!” I did. But to me, soccer (and every sport I ever attempted) was like broccoli. I hated it one year, tried it again, and realized I loved it the next. Also, yes, I’m weird and I actually like broccoli. The second time I tried soccer, it wasn’t “organized,” but it was very competitive. It was at recess in the fourth grade. Every kid in my class, which consisted of maybe 20 kids, decided to split into teams and run around a field for 15 minutes. I don’t have any I-was-always-the-last-kid-picked sob stories, because I was always picked somewhere in the middle, so that was good, but during team selection, I always thought, “You should pick me last, because I’m awful, and you don’t want me!” One day, I had a moment of glory: A brief moment of wonder, where life had me thinking that maybe I was actually sort of good at soccer and sports in general. I took possession of the ball. I broke free of the cluster of 10-year-olds and ran the ball down the field. I’ve never felt faster or more free in my life. I was inching closer and closer to the goal, my team cheering behind me, and as I went to kick the ball, I pulled a Charlie Brown. You know? When Lucy holds the football for him to kick, then she removes it at the last second, and he pancakes? Yeah. I did that. Except no one moved the ball. I somehow managed to step on it as I was trying to kick it, and I fell flat on my back. That was the last straw for me with fútbol.

What did I learn from playing soccer? Other than I should never go anywhere near a soccer ball again, I gained an immense respect for soccer players. Notre Dame men’s soccer beat Michigan on Tuesday and accomplished two things: they remained undefeated, and they’re now ranked #1 in the Soccer America poll. Hear that, Grace Hall? Get that sign turned on! I didn’t make it to the game, and I feel terrible about it, but I promise I’ll go to the next home game. I see you, Duke! You’ve got some new neighbors in the ACC, and they’re not going down without a fight.

Sidenote: My apologies to baseball for not making it to their fall-season kick-off (hit-off? Bat-off? Swing-off? You don’t kick in baseball. I digress.). Regardless, congratulations on the win!

Finally, if you’re reading this, that means you read the whole thing; therefore, you deserve a cookie. Go you! And Go Irish!

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