Sports for the Un-Athletic

  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 04, 2007 2:54 PM GMT
    Okay, So in high school I was a nerd. I was completely and totally focused on getting into college. I ran cross country for one season, but only because I wanted to be able to list it on my college application as proof of how well rounded I was as a student.
    Now I'm wondering if playing a sport might be a good way to change up my routine and open new avenues for health and fitness.
    My question is, I'm completely unathletic, and not skilled at anything. I'm unable to throw, nor catch, regardless of the size/shape of the ball. I'm sure I could try playing some sort of defensive position, however that's a little more full contact than I think I'm prepared to take at this point. Can anyone suggest a good sport for me? I live in a small town (80k people or so), so anything truly exotic would be rather difficult to get into, however all suggestions are welcome...
  • Starboard

    Posts: 242

    Sep 04, 2007 7:51 PM GMT

    Rowing demands a great deal of atheticism but is very forgiving for first-time athletes. It requires teamwork, physical strength and mental/cardiovascular endurance. Rather than dealing with a lot of equipment and rules, you have one oar in sweep rowing (two oars if you are sculling).

    It is just as much of a physical activity (utilizing both your upper and lower body)as it is mental (focusing on the directions given by the coxswain and the movements of the rower in front of you making sure that timing and alignment are synchronized which is critical to maintaining balance in the boat).

    It's a beautiful sport to participate in and watch (especially if there's a hot rower in the seat ahead of you)...and there's nothing like an early morning workout when all you can hear is the sound of each blade cutting through the water perfectly.

    Looks like there is a local club in your area too:

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    Sep 04, 2007 7:57 PM GMT
    Erm, not to rain on the parade, but just a caution as a former coxswain about Starboard's comment on rowing being very forgiving. It can be quite tough to get the hang of it and novice boats can be torture while guys try to get the coordination down.

    This is not at ALL to dissuade you from trying it. All the things he said are dead on about rowing. Nothing has given me the same thrill as saying "Ready all...." for the first time when going out for a row!
  • gymingit

    Posts: 156

    Sep 04, 2007 8:02 PM GMT
    Come on guys... help this guy out. I'm interested myself. Make some suggestions.....

  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 04, 2007 8:08 PM GMT
    I'll look into after work. It sounds like exactly what I'm looking for! Good suggestion!
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    Sep 04, 2007 8:14 PM GMT
    And per gymingit, I would also recommend mountain biking - or even just plain road biking - as a great way to get out there and work up a sweat while having fun.
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    Sep 04, 2007 8:18 PM GMT
    You say you can't throw or catch, which is all the more reason to get into a sport that requires throwing and catching. It'll help develop those skills and some muscle memory. If you can only find one other person to participate with you, it'd never hurt to get outside and toss a pigskin around.

    You may also want to try tennis, as it takes only you and one other person, not a whole team and another whole team.

    Handball and racquetball give pretty good workouts as well and only require you and another person.

    Don't laugh, but bowling is pretty good for hand/eye coordination development and it's a good night out with friends.

    If you have a pair of rollerblades, it's a good, fun workout.
  • art_smass

    Posts: 960

    Sep 04, 2007 8:19 PM GMT
    My gym is in the middle of a huge, multipurpose athletic field. There's an Ultimate Frisbee league whose members are always coming into the gym to use the washroom. Those guys don't look even remotely athletic, yet they all seem to be working hard and having a lot of fun. I get the idea that they play a lot of WOW when they aren't playing Frisbee, though.

    My gym also has a squash ladder that allows you to get matched up with people who have a similar skill level. It gives you the option of learning a competitive sport and gauging your progress without feeling like you're letting down a team.
  • Starboard

    Posts: 242

    Sep 04, 2007 8:23 PM GMT
    Forget about Gigaram -- he is a coxswain for crying out loud -- EVIL INCARNATE. (Just kidding, Gigaram).

    By "fogiving" I didn't mean to imply that rowing is easy -- it's the most demanding, challenging sport that I have ever tried.

    What I meant to say was that if you have not participated in team sports in a while, I think that a master's rowing team is ideal because while it does require a great deal of physicality, I think it's much more likely that you will at least be able to get your oar in and out of the water on your first day as opposed to defending a baseline drive or hitting a curve ball.

    Master's teams come in all shapes and sizes -- I am always amazed at the level of rowing that takes place amongst people who do not look athletic at all (we had several grandparents on our team).

    Also, most coaches will seat their boats according to skill level, so you would likely start out with other less experiences rowers.

    Finally, and most importantly -- at the end of each race, the coxswain traditionally gets tossed off of the dock by the crew.
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 04, 2007 8:35 PM GMT
    Well, this summer my friends and I took up rafting, however after arriving at the pick up point several hours ahead of schedule, i was removed from rowing duty. Since then there has been one minor incident with a bush and the lossof a paddle, however, we have yet to reach the launch point as quickly as when I'm paddling.
    I like how I feel after rowing the raft, and I'm sure its completely different, however I'll look into it. I believe the classes here in town (per the website) are difficult to get started because of the required 8 person minimum, however it never hurts to get on the list.
    I also appreciate the other suggestions, and since fall approaches quickly, watersports (not the dirty kind) are kind of miserable here shortly.
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 04, 2007 8:38 PM GMT
    I do think that forcing myself to practice throwing and catching would be a good idea, however it's as difficult as always to find someone who wants to go out and just toss a ball around.
    Maybe I need fewer sedentary friends. LOL
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    Sep 04, 2007 8:47 PM GMT
    Shut up and row, Starboard! :-) And yes, I've taken MANY a dip, including one into the Charles River a WEEK after it had thawed.

    On a related note, I'm looking into getting into kayaking myself which might also be something for you to consider briar esp if you want to get into the, ahem, water sports before/after it gets cold.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Sep 04, 2007 10:11 PM GMT
    Kayaking is great fun...and it''s a really good workout too...
    Other things someone can try like someone already mentioned is mountainbiking and /or hiking
    ...You live in CA briar...hit some of the mountain parks out there some of those hills can be killers
    ...I did a hike up in Vancouver right outside the city called Grousegrind
    GREAT...hike - beautiful scenery straight up the mountain
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 04, 2007 10:16 PM GMT
    My fave mtn biking area is behind Humboldt University. It's this amazing group of trails that go all over the coastal mountain range in that area. it's awesome.
    I don't really count hiking and mountain biking as cardio, and I'm not sure why. I think it's because I enjoy it so much. I'm constantly hassling my friends to go. My favorite hike in the Shasta Cascade Nat Park is Whiskeytown Falls.
    Just recently rediscovered, it's a little under 2 miles and uphill to the falls. 3 cascades, dropping just over 200 feet. It's a hefty hike, but more than worth the effort. Last time we went, i was so excited I ran a large portion of the trail.
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    Sep 04, 2007 10:21 PM GMT
    If there's any basketball hoops near you (or you could put one up yourself over the garage door), it's a pretty good thing to go out and run yourself some drills and shooting baskets. It's something you can do alone but is more fun with someone else or a bunch of guys and a game. Additionally, it'll get that thing going with throwing and catching the ball, which is all hand/eye stuff and confidence.
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    Sep 04, 2007 10:21 PM GMT
    One last comment and then I'm off for my own ride - try I found a mountain biking group in my area that way. There are running groups you can find that way as well. Sounds like you need to find a group that'll be as eager to get out there as you.
  • code_joe

    Posts: 107

    Sep 05, 2007 8:04 PM GMT
    I'm horrible myself with Balls, so, I tend to go along with more of the Do it bye yourself sports. My favorite sports are Mtn Biking, Hiking, and Swimming. Those occupy most of my time. I am not sure what kind of city you live in and what is around for you to do.

    I have been an avid mountian biker now for 15 or so years. Same with hiking. I guess the family got me into that but it is a great work out if you have places to go. I just went on a three hour hike yesterday and enjoyed every moment of it.

    If you like swimming I would suggest seeing if there is a swim team you can join near bye. They are great and help you with form as well as motivating you to show up 2-3 times a week. There are a bunch of gay swim teams out there that you could join IGLA

    Some other options could be Kayaking, This seems to be a good fit for you since you said you enjoy rafting. You can start out by kayaking on a lake then gradually move to rivers once you learn how to roll over properly. This is what my family has been getting into alot lately. My sister and her GF go out kayaking at least 2-3 times a week.

    I would but I'm afraid its a little too hot outside right now to do anything by die where i live.
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    Sep 05, 2007 8:41 PM GMT
    I think the key is to find something that you genuinely like to do, and see if there's a sport/activity that's related to it. Do you like to work out alone, or with people? Team sport vs. individual? Is it competitive or not? Do you need to win to have that motivation? Might make the difference between choosing raquetball vs. hiking.

    This is one of the reasons that we need to have gym in schools, so that kids can try out lots of things to see what they like. Track & Field is good for this, as there are all sorts of different activities for different types (long distance runners are quite different from shot putters.)
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 05, 2007 8:45 PM GMT
    Unfortunately for me PE wasn't ideal. It was flag football, track or basketball. Sadly I always got excited reading all the possible choices from the school catalog, and every year it was the same thing...oh well. Budgetting restrains are part of the everyday life I guess.
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    Sep 06, 2007 1:35 AM GMT
    It sounds like your getting great advice briarhawk.

    Personally I feel every healthy person has an athletic ability that he or she can tap or not. The body is not different than the mind. Use it or lose it. It is never too late to become an athletic. I'm getting the feeling you're a late bloomer.

    Also don't let your childhood experience dissuade you. My elementary school was filled with working class kids that would turn nearly every game into a reason to fight and sometimes down racial lines. It was kind of hard to get excited about PE. When I went to the faculty pool and eventually to a private school the rule had changed for the better. I found I loved competing.

    I love many of the outdoor sports you've listed. Here in NC we have lots of waterfalls with hiking and mountain biking trails. It's great to get all sweaty and then skinny dip at the base of a waterfall. Also hiking up a steep mountain or down a deep gorge is a serious workout.

    If you want to improve hand eye coordination try juggling. You can do it on your own and it is amazing how much it helps. I use to run and juggle. It looks a bit ridiculous so you might want to try it someplace where people won't be gawking at you.

    Also it sounds like you might like Whitewater kayaking. That’s my latest passion. I tried starting a thread but found only two other ww kayakers on this site. Oh and your near ski country! Great sport but very equipment intensive and a bit expensive.
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 06, 2007 3:14 AM GMT
    i'm a big fan of cross country skiing. We go up into the mountains and ski up the old logging roads (cross country skis) then ski back down after a good long effort. It's my favorite thing in the world, even though i dont get to do it that often.
    thanks for the idea about juggling. It's worth a try... when i was in college we had an outreach program to be clowns for the local children's ward at the hospital, and I was fairly good at juggling scarves (which we were taught to do in preparation for juggling things with more weight)
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    Sep 06, 2007 4:12 AM GMT
    Running, biking, hiking, anything that doesn't require a team. Not that I do any of those. I am good at hair combing, and as, advanced age has set in, nose-hair plucking. I would get a gold medal in the latter if it ever becomes an Olympic sport! ;0)
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    Sep 06, 2007 5:35 AM GMT
    Bodybuilding. The weights just sit there until you move them. You don't chase them, you don't catch them, you don't bat at them, you don't swing at them, and you don't have to knock or throw them into some damn hole somewhere.

    I like bodybuilding. ;)
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Sep 06, 2007 6:06 AM GMT

    I thought you would go for the "water sports" one. U must be slipping. You gave serious advice this time?? what gives??
  • iHavok

    Posts: 1477

    Sep 06, 2007 1:53 PM GMT
    Lifting would be the ideal sport for me!

    Great explanation PSB!