Carly Playing Football: Upholding stereotypes since 1880

I am giving up on dating for an undetermined period of time. To focus on myself. After you stop barfing, let me explain: I want to become less of a blob and look more like an actual person who has, what do you call them? Muscles? While I’m doing that, I want to meet more people and not have to worry about what I look like when I eat a dumpling. The other day I signed up on (a website that gets groups together with similar interests), and my first day at the Santa Monica Co-ed flag football meetup began when a very athletic-looking man passed me a football to start practicing. I’ve tossed the football around plenty of times with my sister and my dad, but when I’m in front of strangers who are subconsciously gauging my skill level in case I end up on their team, I become very nervous. Just to reiterate, I got nervous attending a voluntary event that I chose for my own enjoyment. I’m the worst.

I quivered as I gripped the giant football in my hobbit hands. I twisted my hips and let it fly and…shit damnnit motherfucker it was a perfect throw. Anyone watching no doubt now had unrealistic expectations of my playing ability, and I could only go downhill from there (spoiler: I did). Sure enough, the QB (I can use abbreviations for Quarterback because I belong to an informal flag football league now) regular who called himself Kaker (not a joke, this is his actual nickname) saw me throw the ball. “This girl throws it like a canon! Josh, watch this.” Kaker, who is Dick Casablancas incarnate with the addition of tiny neon shorts and the subtraction of a shirt, also known as female kryptonite, pointed at me. Real life Dick Casablancas stood in front of me, expecting me to knock his socks off (if only), and my hands shook as if Michael J. Fox had possessed them (too soon?). I don’t do well when hot men expect me to exceed their smoldering expectations. I took a breath and threw, cringing as the ball wobbled awkwardly in the air, missing its mark by four feet. Kaker shook his head, “Aw man, the pressure got to her.” WHY GOD, WHY COULD YOU NOT HAVE GIVEN ME THE SKILL LEVEL OF PEYTON MANNING FOR ONE FREAKING SECOND?!

The rest of the day was super fun albeit involved a lot of me failing to do the things that everyone else successfully carried out. My QB looked like an actual pro football player, and passed like one too. He was so tall that when he gave me a route to run, he took a knee to get to my eye level. Everyone was super friendly and athletic and never once gave me the stink eye for being the sole person responsible for letting the other team score (this happened at least three times). When we played Kaker’s team, my QB assigned me as rusher, which meant I was in charge of going for Kaker’s flag. I immediately imagined the worst-case-scenario in which I dive for Kaker’s flag, miss, and instead accidentally grab his penis (which I guess would’ve been a win/loss for me). I mean, the flag just hangs right around the crotch area and in the heat of the moment, you never know. Instead, I never once touched him and as a result he scored a touchdown because of my ineptitude. The highlights of the game included 1) catching two passes, and 2) Kaker acknowledging my existence when he yelled out, “Guard Shorty!” (As if I were skilled enough to need guarding). The girls on the other team asked my real name, and although I told them, I secretly wanted Shorty to catch on so I could feel like a real member of the team who has a nickname (ex. Kaker + Shorty 4ever). By the end of the day, I couldn’t feel my body and Kaker said I did a good job. I can only assume it was because I was instrumental in allowing his team to win.

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