A Lesson in Coordination from a Decades’ Old Toy

I just wanted to take a moment and administer a PSA: Go outside and play Skip-It.

I did this, just last week. I was out with my old college roommate, and we wandered through Target. It was the first time we’d seen each other in about six months. We needed to pick up a few essentials, and we decided to wander through the toy aisle for nostalgia’s sake. I’m glad we did.

I’m not the world’s most coordinated person, as anyone who’s known me long can probably tell you. I generally try to laugh it off, but sometimes it stings, particularly when I hear it from someone new. I can recall going 12,000 miles from home, with half a dozen people I barely new (it was my first trip to Taiwan), and after about a week, jokes were being made about me being the clumsy one. I even called someone out on it when another person in the group did the same thing I’d done and wasn’t called out on it–because I’d already been dubbed the clumsy one, I was going to be laughed at and joked about whenever I dropped something or knocked something over, no matter how many times someone else did the same thing.

Anyway, my point was, I’m not coordinated. I don’t seem to possess any sort of innate grace, or even a sense of rhythm. But when we were at Target, while we lamented the lack of Polly Pockets (the original ones, not the Barbie-want-to-be Pollies) but saw Bratz dolls present, and looked at our favorite old board games, we saw it. A Skip-It.

Immediately the old jingles from the commercials went through our heads–apparently those advertisers knew their job. We saw something called “Skip-It Twister Dance Rave.” I’m not sure exactly what it did–I got the impression there were flashing lights involved, and a high price tag. We decided to go with the off-brand but true to childhood version for about $8. When we got home, we realized it didn’t have a counter on it, but we decided to have fun with it anyway.

We took it out to the parking lot, and took turns leaning on one another to get the ring on each of our feet with one shoe off–apparently our shoes are too big to fit through the ring these days.

Anyway, my point is, it was hard to get it going. It was awkward. The ball didn’t want to swing (there was no counter in it to give it weight). The first few tries felt tremendously ridiculous, I can’t emphasize that enough. But you know what? I decided that I didn’t mind being awkward for a little while. As a side note, we spent 3 days wearing mini-tiaras and felt pretty awesome for it. We received comments from a couple of neighbors who both remarked that they hadn’t seen a Skip-It in years–one almost seemed to want to try it, the other was certain it was going to end badly.

It didn’t end badly.

My bestie playing Skip-It in the parking lot.

My bestie playing Skip-It in the parking lot.

Once you’ve got the Skip-It swinging and can really get the rhythm going, you can keep it up until you have to stop because you’re laughing too hard or you run out of breath from spending too much time, I don’t know, working on your blog instead of walking in the sunlight. And you know how I felt when that little plastic ball was swinging around and around, exactly the way it was supposed to? I felt AWESOME. I felt coordinated, and capable, and quite possibly even graceful. I felt accomplished.

We had a lot of fun, we got some exercise, and I felt good about myself. It was an all around win.

So even if it takes a few tries, go outside and play, and have fun. Skip-It, jump rope, play hop-scotch, or one of those hand-clap games from elementary school if you can find a friend who still remembers them. You won’t regret it.

I’ve got to get back to my NaNoWriMo story now, there’s a deadline looming, and I need another 800 words tonight, so until next time: keep trying new things.

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