There were two stories from the world of sports that caught the attention of my ovaries over the weekend. The first was Danica Patrick’s showing in the Daytona 500, as the first woman ever to start from the pole position, and then as the first woman to finish in the top ten. So congratulations to Ms. Patrick, for breaking those two particular (Jersey) barriers.
The second story was Rhonda Rousey’s victory in the UFC championship. For those of you unfamiliar, Ms. Rousey became the first female champion in the world of professional mixed martial arts, which, as far as I can tell, is made up of an anything goes sort of brawling.
While I happily cheer the achievements of all women, I’ve never been too impressed with NASCAR racing as a sport. Mostly because I can see myself doing it. I mean, I can drive a car, I have a license to prove it, and while I’m sure there are other skills NASCAR drivers possess beyond making left turns, I believe I have the basic ability that would allow me to be a race car driver. If I could just get over my fear of traveling faster than the posted speed limit, I’m sure I’d be burning rubber spinning out in the winner’s circle in no time.
Now mixed martial arts is a different story. I’m not sure I could ever work up the necessary emotional fury against another woman in order to perform Rousey’s signature move, the elbow-breaking “armbar.” I think maybe I’m too much of a pacifist to ever succeed as an Ultimate Fighter.
Of course, there have been times when I’ve been really angry with another woman, so I’m thinking maybe I could do it, if I had a cornerman who constantly reminded me of those times in order to maintain my rage between rounds.
Cornerman: You’re doing great out there, Karen. Just keep it up! You’ve got her on the run!
Ultimate Fighter Me: Oh, I don’t know. What did she ever do to me? Why should I keep going out there trying to beat her brains out? She seems nice enough . . .
Cornerman: Stop thinking like that! Focus! Remember what Maria DeLuca wrote in your sixth grade yearbook?
Ultimate Fighter Me: (remembering) Yes! Yes! I remember! She wrote I was a carpenter’s dream: skinny as a nail and flat as a board! Why would someone write that in a yearbook, for all of posterity???
Cornerman: That’s right. Now I need you to imagine Maria DeLuca’s face on that fighter’s body!
Ultimate Fighter Me: I don’t know if I can do it!
Cornerman: You can! Remember how you felt when you were five years old and your mother brought your baby sister home from the hospital?
Ultimate Fighter Me: (becoming angry) Oh, God, yes! I was so mad, I threw clothespins at her in her crib while she was sleeping! Why did my parents have another child? Everything was perfect until she came along!
Cornerman: That’s right! Remember how that felt, all the hurt and rejection. And what about the time Michelle Reynolds hit on your boyfriend at the Residence Hall dance party?
Ultimate Fighter Me: (absolutely apoplectic) I remember that! She told me she didn’t have a spare tampon, so I had to run back to my dorm room, and when I came back, she was sitting next to him, with her hand on his thigh! That bitch!
Cornerman: (pulling me up off the stool and pushing me out into the ring) Now go get her!