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Athletic Anecdote: It’s tough being the “Little Giants”

By Denebola
Published: September 2007

By Max Pava

Dictionary.com defines athleticism as “physically active and strong” and “of or pertaining to athletes; involving physical skills or capabilities, as strength agility or stamina.” Hmm, that definition does not apply to me in the least bit. Could I, Max Pava be unathletic? I can bench about 1/86 th of what Chris Kim benches.

My 5’9″ ish, potentially overweight fig ure doesn’t quite lead to an explosion of nimbleness within me. And I can go up and down my staircase approximately twice before getting tired. WOW, I lack athleticism. Who would have thunk it?  Back in the day I was a three-sport athlete. I would play a little youth soccer here and there, NAA basketball every winter, and Newton South Little League baseball in the spring and fall. Where did I go wrong? OOOOOO right, I was never very good.

Don’t get me wrong I hit my fair share of little league home runs in fourth grade and scored some points in basketball every once in a while, but my glory days did not last long. Competitiveness soon got in the way, as did the upsetting reality of the world of sports.

I clearly remember the day this all began. It was in the spring of fourth grade and tryouts for the “majors” of little league had recently taken place. Many of my friends had gotten calls from their new coaches. I never got that call.

It was that day I knew I would never play for the Boston Red Sox.

But seriously, that was pretty harsh news for an elementary school kid to take. Being separated from my friends and being put into the “non-jock” category hurt. In later years, competition grew as did the reality that my athletic career was not looking too optimistic.

To sum it all up some of my friends and I were the Little Giants for those who remember the classic film. I would have to say that I was Zoltak, the large line backer with the unfortunate stomach issues. Unfortunately my gas-forming abilities never lead my team to the classic underdog win.

As life went on less and less sporting options were available to my kind. Of course I did and still do have NAA basketball, which I am not terrible at, but one of my fondest childhood sports, baseball was drifting away from me.

At a certain age there was no baseball league in Newton for those who didn’t want to or weren’t good enough to play for their school. Personally I think it is moronic that no such league exists within town. Essentially, what’s being said here is that if you are not worthy of playing baseball by our standards, do not partake in one of your favorite activities ever. Just go home to your TV and computer you unathletic piece of crap.

Isn’t it just heartwarming? And the fact is that this rejection of physical activity for those who aren’t worthy could quite possibly have an affect on the overweight population. Here is a hypothetical story. A fat kid named Larry goes to football tryouts. He gets laughed at and mocked and the coach says you can’t play on this team.

The kid then finds out that there is no other league for him to play in. Is Larry now going to spend his afternoons A) Creating another league B) Getting in shape and eating vegetables C) Sitting at home, watching TV and eating junk.

Well I’m just going to go out on a limb and say C. I’m not saying that this is what happened to me. I found an alternative but the fact is that many kids don’t have one.

So there you all have it. “The Max Pava Story: Athletics, not so much”. A one time three-season athlete turned into a mere one sport man. The story may seem tragic and unjust, and perhaps it is. But I have overcome it, as all of you will too.

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