During my High School years, I had braces on my teeth, wore horrible and snug fitting 80’s fashion that I could barely put on my chubby body, carried around excessive tubes of Bonnie Bell hot pink lip gloss and loaded up my eyes with teal blue eyeliner, so much, I looked like a Maybelline factory had exploded in front of me, let’s face it, no matter how sweet and nice a girl I was, I wasn’t too cute. I was lucky though, and even If I had been a leper from Calcutta, my luck would have made me popular during the usually awkward High School years, because, cue the drumroll…. my Grandfather owned the Philadelphia Eagles and My Mom was the team’s GM/VP/Legal Council.
I was given a gift, for sure. I knew it and while I was never going to be suited up to play football, I knew that I had to learn it, live it, breathe it and most importantly be able to talk about it. If you weren’t top of your game and prepared at my house, you were a squanderer and that was NOT allowed in the family locker room!!
I didn’t rely on being a member of the lucky birth club to make me popular, in fact most people didn’t know who this cherubic brace face was back then. I wanted to be well liked and cool, just like everyone else……so what truly made me the IT girl was my passion and love of sports and I made it my mission to learn the value of speaking sports! Yes speaking sports is a real term and I love it and live it.
You can take French, Spanish and Latin in school, and I did, but I was and still am a student of sports!! I believe talking something, is different than studying it. I can’t recall a whole lot of French or Spanish and the only Latin I still know is “Ese Quam Videri” which means “Be, rather than seem to be.” So while my language skills are limited, what I can remember is the entire roster of the Philadelphia Eagles 1981 SuperBowl Team! Starting with the letter B, there were no A’s on that team. Ron Baker, Bill Bergey, ending with Roynell Young!
If I wanted to be a part of family discussions at home or the IT girl at school speaking and understanding sports was a must, and I knew I could not fake it and so my quest to fluently speak sports began.
I devoured the knowledge and drank it in, like a professional tailgater. The information made me giddy and I could rattle off the stats and names like a human super computer. A young child learns that making people laugh and cracking jokes get them attention and they work hard then to keep up the funny. I got stroked for being a cute little girl who knew that the Bullies on Broad Street were Hockey Players, that Jaws wasn’t an underwater predator but a Polish QB, and that the in house Doctor for the Sixers was actually named Julius. This was my currency and I was suited up to play!
My language IS sports, in fact the most universal language in the world IS sports. I believe that. You can go anywhere in the world and there is always a game being played. I challenge you to go to another country and try and discuss politics in a broken foreign language. You’ll be looked at like a crazy person, but ask anyone in any country about David Beckham or Pele and let the conversation of multiple languages morph into a universal, understood conversation about SPORTS.
What about Cricket? You may know nothing about it but step into a pub packed with cricket fans and you learn quickly that it’s not only a loud and sometimes annoying insect! It’s a super competitive game that can be traced back to 16th Century in Tudor England. Crazy fans make it fun to watch as they drink pints, scream at the top of their lungs and wear teams flannels, usually different colors of white. You don’t have to know cricket to be consumed by the sport and its fans in that moment. Next thing you know you’ve got the rules understood and you’re ordering Chicken Tikka Masala, Naam Bread and shouting out the name Sachin Tendulkar, one of The Greatest Cricket Batsmen of all time!
Ok my point, sports is the universal language of the world that connects us to one another. It’s not your horrible fashion choices that make you popular, it’s the language you speak and in my case my language was and will always be sports. I started my charitable foundation Grab A Ball and Play for so many reasons but mostly because I believe that each child’s opportunity to learn how to both speak and play sports opens doors and creates new friendships that will make them stronger individuals down the road.
And that’s what makes everything in life more enjoyable. Developing and maintaining healthy relationships, create a strong sense of who we are, we know that we can be from all different places, with different back grounds, and yet the love of sports and the team work is the super glue that bonds and binds us! That’s why, after all these years my friends can still make fun of me for all the eyeliner I continue to wear, these days choosing black over teal, the fact the only french I really speak now is to purchase my parfume – Histoire eu toilette 1969 and my Chanel #40 La Sensuelle medium pink lipstick! I know, they still dislike my county girl go to uniform of jeans and plaid flannel button downs from the Gap, yet, it’s our locker room talk of love, because we speak the same language, and we all laugh together while watching a game!
Now that’s the best gift ever!!!
Categories: Marnie Schneider