The Undance Gene

JOHN GALLAGHER
SPORTS EDITOR

I’ve never been able to dance. It’s a wonder that I have retained any of the friends who have witnessed my sorry excuses for dance moves up to this point. What ego that still remains after such a dance session further prohibits me from condemning myself for my lack of syncopated hip movement, and in an act of pure self-defense has me blaming my ancestry for this “undance” gene I seem to have obliviously inherited.

The undance gene seems in itself to warrant the existence of inherited traits beyond the readily identifiable. For the sake of the continuity of this argument, we’ll assume as much. Given that my nursing major best friend isn’t reading over my shoulder and correcting the medical inaccuracy of the undance gene, I see fit to continue. Another such ambiguous trait, which I blame on my genealogy—my hands don’t tan. The rest of me could be singed at the edges, and my sun-deprived digits still possess an ever-annoying ignorant bliss with regard to the sun.

I’m competitive. I’m competitive and it hurts, because whether it’s the Franciscan University Men’s Tennis 2016 NCAA tournament or Jenga, losing is never part of my agenda when I wake up in the morning (neither, it seems, is dancing). Moments like the former mode of competition, the NCAAs, dangerously glaze my ability to recognize a vital incongruity in my identity. After losing a particularly important point, I can recall turning and slamming my racket into the fence in an uncharacteristically angry moment on my part. It’s a court and a ball, and no matter how much we choose to glorify athletic participation, no matter how many hours of conditioning and drilling, no matter how many late nights and early mornings, it will always remain a court and a ball. It’s what I do.

If I’m to render myself defenseless before my emotions as a reactionary measure to what I do, how much more will I suffer when I discover an unfavorable aspect with regard to who I am? So long as belief defines action, I run the serious risk of mistaking my hobbies for myself.

These sun-deprived hands belong to a man who understands they were never his to begin with. If I grow frustrated when those hands put a tennis ball into the net, how much more upset will I be when they screw up something that’s entirely less than a game? These hands were made to turn souls to Christ. They were made to define who I am, and the worst thing I could possibly do is to allow for them to snag on action before I am to understand end.

I can’t dance. When I try, my untanned hands end up waving through the air in a manner similar to the frantic actions of a man perhaps attempting to hail a passing ship to rescue him from a deserted island. But not a person on this earth was created to allow the amount of melanin in their skin to define the sanctity of Christ in their hearts. I’m all for keeping it that way.

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