Now sports aren’t really my forte at the best of times. It would be fair to say that I was PE teachers’ worst nightmare; I was that kid who just couldn’t be bothered. Unlike those potential athletes or aspiring international rugby stars that treated each PE session like it was the Olympics, I would rather stand at the side keeping well away from any physical action. And let’s face it, we all know rugby is just a way of making it more acceptable for the academically challenged jocks to beat up the self confessed geeks like me without it being called bullying, but rather dubbed as character building as that’s much more PC. Much to my teacher’s disgust, my standard response to why I wasn’t joining in on all hormonally fuelled rough and tumble was that I couldn’t be good at everything and you’ll just have to accept that. Oh to be a teenager and have suitably sarcastic and well informed answer to any possible elicitation. (Well it must be better than admitting that I seriously suck ass at pretty much any sport). All the years of this in my teens and yet I’m still infuriated by the little know-it-alls who test my patience with their snippy teenage wisdom. I guess there is such a thing as karma.
Since leaving school my relationship with sport has become considerably less strained and on a fine day I might even be seen heading to the gym for a session on the treadmill (although not the cross-trainer mind; that thing just gets faster and faster until there is absolutely no other option but to fall off it. A health hazard if I ever did see one). Personally I don’t think the whole sports malarkey is at all aided by the fact that I have sporadic control of my limbs at the best of times. So imagine my trepidation when an email arrived to my work account announcing staff Zumba. Rather than admitting that I wasn’t actually even sure what Zumba was, and that fact that it sounded a bit like zoom (which as we all know is a rather energetic verb) suggests it might involve quite a lot of hard graft!
Are the more perceptive of you starting to sense a new opportunity to stage my idiocy? You are?! Excellent; a gold star for you!
Anyway, after conveniently forgetting my change of clothes on the first opportunity, one of my colleagues and fellow Zumba recruits, kindly reminded me with the following imperative:
Zumba- 2moro! That is all!
At this point I’m starting to realise that I might have got myself into something that I was soon to regret. Time for good old Google to once again, put my worries to rest.
Do men do Zumba?
Google’s always right so I’m bound to find answers there, right? I found particular reassurance in the following:
At my Zumba class there are no men, apart from those who (not so) sneakily come to ogle over the women there.
So as I’m sneaking out of the men’s toilet, hoping and praying not to be seen on my way to the dance studio, I bump into one of my senior colleagues. Masking my humiliation behind the facade of being in a rush, I try to get away with the standard friendly hi and a head nod that usually suffices. But not this time... oh no, I wasn’t going to escape without a quizzing.
"Are you off to...Zumba?” he asked with the tell tale raise of an eyebrow.
What do I say without appearing completely moronic?
I lost a bet?
I was tricked into it?
Zumba? I thought I was going to cage fighting?
I settled for I’m proving a point before adding this little gem; Taking one for the boys and there might have even been a little action to go with it too. What was I thinking? I have never said anything like that in my life! His knowing nod made any possible verbal response void and with that I scuttled off.
I’m procrastinating aren’t I? Much like I was on the way to said Zumba class. But then again, you’ve probably only read this far in the hope that I’ll make a fool of myself at some stage: Fear not dear reader it will all be worthwhile.
Much as I expected I was the only guy at the class, which I’m pretty sure is not a positive indicator for what is to follow.
Boy was I right.
Luckily for me I was joined by a couple of my rebellious colleagues who accompanied me in making a bee line for the back of the class in order to hide our inability (or make a quick exit should the sudden need arise) together. Then, to the pumping beats of a quasi-reggae/salsa/latino soundtrack and the delighted yelps and whoops of the instructor, what would become an hour of boogying, shaking, shimmying, weaving and probably most scarily... thrusting, began and I quickly realised that this would definitely not be an activity I would excel at! What began as a relatively well structured aerobic inspired work-out, evolved to something more akin to the moves I bust out on a Friday nights at one of Birmingham’s more seedy venues after my fifth Jager bomb.
“I’m just freestyling now!” said one of my colleagues as they gaily boogied past me in the sort of ethereal haze that Vanilla Ice or one of his eighties cronies would be proud of and that looked like my kind of fun!
Now I’m one of those people that doesn’t really do failure (even though I did fail my driving test 6 times, which proves my next point) but if I do, I do it in a dramatic fashion. So as the movements are getting more risqué and the tempo is starting to speed up I decide that failing spectacularly was the only way I was going to get through the next 40 minutes. So that was what I did; I failed.
I failed at the clapping and shaking.
I failed at the shimmying big time!
I failed at the whole co-ordination thing ‘cus I just can’t move my arms and legs in time; its actually impossible!
I very definitely failed at the whole ass wobbling, gyrating Beyonce-esq style movements (but that’s quite a relief if I’m honest as there aren’t many/any guys who can really pull that off!)
(I probably didn’t fail on the thrusting, but from the comments afterwards about the level of gusto that I put into this, maybe failure would have been a better option!)
But you know what I learnt from all of this, (well apart from the fact a nationwide ban should be enforced on me ever attending a Zumba class again) is that sometimes, much as it pains me to say this, it’s ok to fail. Just make sure you fail in epic proportions and you’ll be fine!