photo by Steve Penland

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


There are a lot of speedskating teams (Clubs? Groups? Herds?) out there, and it seems like most of them have acronyms—FASST, SWIFT, STEP, and so on. I don’t know what they all mean, but as soon as I realized all these acronyms existed, I felt a twinge of envy.

“I want an acronym,” I told TieGuy the next day at practice. Never mind that I’m a “club” of one, I want an acronym. And, not being one to leave anything to chance, I had already come up with one.

“SCOWL. It’s perfect. Slow Clumsy Old Whiney Lady.”

TieGuy was not impressed.

Still, since I’m the only member of SCOWL, I think I should have the right to name the team. And it truly fits, as follows:

Slow: OK, there have been times when I have not been slow. I want to get back to those times. Right now, though, I am slow.

Clumsy: No one who knows me well will dispute this.

Not Hubster, who has witnessed great feats of my coordination--such as the time I was giving a friend a ride on my dirt bike and was suddenly confronted by Hubster (then just Friendster) coming towards us in his Jeep; lacking any ability to successfully execute an evasive maneuver, I simply dumped the bike, myself, and my unhappy passenger into the raspberry bushes. Or the time Hubster tried to teach me to ride my mountain bike (full suspension mountain bike, I might add, which should have made the whole process easier) over a curb, only to get a close up view of me doing a perfect endo when I dropped the front wheel just in front of the curb instead of on top of it.

Not my parents; my mom, who taught exercise classes when I was in high school, once had to ask me if I could please stand at the back of her class instead of the front—I was righting when everyone was supposed to be lefting, and I was throwing the whole class off.

Not my ninth grade PE teacher, who had the good grace not to laugh when, during the punting test in the flag football unit, I missed the ball completely.

Not my twelfth grade “Outdoor Education” teacher, who told me that he wasn’t quite sure how to grade me on the archery unit since I had gotten 100% on the written test--and 15 out of 200 points on the practical test.

And certainly not TieGuy, who has had to put up with almost five years of watching me fumble my way around the rink. My specialty is “suddenly” grasping a concept that he has been explaining to me for the past two years, and then working for the next two years on trying to execute said concept.

Old: I’m 47. Either that counts as old or it doesn’t; right now, 47 feels old.

Whiney: I try not to whine, really I do. My standard line is “I’m not whining, I’m conveying relevant information about my physical status.” Trouble is, I usually convey this information before I’ve even started a workout, listing all current aches, pains, and mental traumas and speculating aloud about how these issues may limit my ability to complete said workout at prescribed paces. And then going out and nailing the workout. This has led to TieGuy responding to my “relevant information” with his own standard line: “Don’t tell me how you feel. Go out and skate and I’ll tell you how you felt.”

Lady: This one is a bit iffy; I qualify in the gender sense but not, probably, in the genteel sense. I needed the “L,” though…

I'm trying to work my way out of SCOWL, but right now it fits. What's your acronym?

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