Friday, April 07, 2006
G is for Girl's Athletic Association
1959. I was 14 years old, and an introverted, unathletic high school freshman. My extroverted, athletic friend (the one in the yellow prom dress) talked me into joining the Girl's Athletic Association (GAA).
Why? Because if we acquired 15 athletic points we earned a ticket to the GAA formal dance and we - the girls - got to ask the boy of our choice to escort us.
Unfortunately, earning GAA points required doing athletic things.
Horseback riding was on the GAA list. My friend lived on a dairy farm and had horses. She assured me that three hours on a horse for three GAA points was "no sweat".
I had never ridden a horse before. She'd been riding horses since she was old enough to sit up, so it didn't occur to her teenage brain that I might need a few pointers. I got on that horse and before I could ask what to do next, the horse took off and jumped the fence.
I didn't fall off. She was a little more helpful after I threatened to go home, and we managed to ride for three hours. The next day I was so sore I could hardly walk. Not a good thing, because I had marching band practice.
I was too stiff to raise my knees when marching 8 to 5 (eight steps to 5 yards), so the band instructor pulled me out of formation and yelled at me for having a "tight skirt". He never did let me explain. The skirt was not tight, my muscles were tight. Stupid man.
It was all worth it, though. That's me in the purple formal. I picked a good looking date, didn't I?