I’m a real sass-thlete.
That is to say, I am very dramatic when forced to participate in any sort of sporting event. So it probably comes as no surprise to any of us that I was only a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at my school for exactly one hour.
My reason for joining was simple - I had a massive, scribble-about-him-in-my-diary-every-night crush on the boy who was President of the club. We had shared two and a half glorious seconds of eye contact the day before, as he stapled a handwritten poster advertising the meeting to a bulletin board. This was God’s way of telling me I needed to attend that meeting.
I waited until he rounded the corner before running up and immediately tearing down the flyer so none of the other girls in my grade would see it. This was my way of telling God that I would be there, but I wasn’t playing games.
Despite my best efforts to eliminate competition and distractions, I was one of twenty greasy seventh and eighth graders who convened in an empty English classroom after the final bell that day. We arranged ourselves in a semi-circle and passed around a tupperware container of homemade cookies. (Oatmeal raisin. This should have been my clue to leave immediately.)
The teacher who had been assigned to us as a faculty advisor started off the meeting with a prayer. While everyone else had their eyes closed and their heads bowed, I took a moment to appreciate my blending efforts.
I’d worn my most basketball-y of sneakers. I had my hair shellacked into a ponytail that you could bounce a quarter off of. I had written “I <3 Sports” in metallic gel pen on my binder, which was doubling as a plate for my half-eaten oatmeal raisin cookie.
I was totally pulling this off.
Our next activity was to go around the room and share what sports we played and how we glorified God through our athleticism.
The first girl talked about how her youth ministry had led her on a service trip to Nicaragua, where she had prayed with and played futbol with starving orphans. She started to cry as she recounted how happy the children were when she left them her soccer ball to keep.
The next guy talked about how he had been in a bad car accident in fifth grade that had left him and his twin brother injured. Only through the power of prayer were they able to heal in time for baseball season.
My panic level rose with each story of softball practice and basketball tryouts and football games. Almost all of these students were on school sports teams. I was going to have to pick something that our school didn’t offer, or they would know I was lying.
Finally, everyone’s eyes settled on me.
“My name is Laura, and I’m on a Junior League bowling team.”
My crush looked up, interested. I had my audience - so I starting spinning a story about how I had grown up in a small town (I hadn’t) where most of the kids ended up in gangs or prison (they didn’t) - but I had found refuge in the old, run-down bowling theater by the Dollar Tree.
I talked about how I spent years perfecting my form. I talked about how on my twelfth birthday, the owner of the bowling alley had given me an official bowling shirt with my name embroidered on it. I joked that I had been raised on Diet Coke and nachos. (Because my real sport is eating processed cheeses.)
Sensing I needed a religious component to my story, I added that our team had pledged all our winnings to charity when we played in the 2006 State Bowling Championships. We were neck and neck with the other team - really mean kids, most of whom were twice our size, who tied our bowling shoe laces together when we weren’t looking.
So before our final round, the whole team gathered closely, held hands, and prayed that God would give us the strength and the skill to play to the best of our ability. By God’s grace, we would win, so that we would be able to give our money to a children’s hospital or a soup kitchen.
And then I bowled two Strikes in a row - winning the game.
“Nine pins for Jesus.” I said, with a tear in my eye.
After I completed my fabricated story with a satisfied nod, my crush - from across the circle - finally spoke up.
“Aren’t there ten pins in bowling?”
Follow Girl, Interrupting on Facebook - where I often use my talent in writing to make fun of my lack of talent for sports.