I Can Kyack
I have always believed that if I just kept looking I would discover my sport, or at least one I could play well enough to enjoy. It took nearly 60 years, but, finally, I found it. It doesn’t matter that I have short arms, short legs, two flat feet that pronate, eyes and hands that prefer to work independently, the balance of a drunken penguin, and arms that can barely lift a 20 lb. turkey. I can kyack!
Most children remember their mom or dad holding the back of their first two-wheeler, then riding down the street on a high of success. I remember a dead-end street in Brooklyn where I fell off my friend’s bike, and that was it. I never got on again.
I remember waiting to be chosen for neighborhood punch ball games. I didn’t blame them for choosing me last. Ball sense I didn’t have.
At camp volleyball games, I tried to hide on the court. At tennis, I was a perpetual advanced beginner. At golf, the rough was my home court.
Running: last place. Hiking: legs too short. (But the blueberries were delicious!) Skiing: too scary.
It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re not good at sports, and I didn’t. Was I never to know the feeling of the wind in my hair as I biked down a winding country road? Well, actually, yes, as I pedaled behind my husband on a bicycle built for two. Would I never feel the exhilaration of skiing down a snowy slope as it curved to the valley beyond? A woodland trail on cross-country skis was the extent of my courage.
Through all these years, I didn’t give up. I comforted myself with the thought that better days were coming. There had to be some physical activity I could really enjoy.
Last summer, I finally found my sport on in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. We rented single kyacks on Stockbridge Bowl. From my first look at the little yellow kyack, I felt hopeful. I think I can handle this, I thought.
Three hours later, I was hooked on kyacking. It’s a soundless, graceful sport. I could make it glide quickly across the lake or let the breeze steer while I took in the ducks and the water lilies around me. I could turn it easily, eat a sandwich in it, even get in and out by myself. Not bad for someone with short arms and legs, two flat feet, eyes and hands that don’t always work together, and the balance of a drunken penguin!
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