You might be a catch if you believe in yourself

I’m not really the outdoorsy type.

More often than not, you can find me settled on the couch with Twitter and that night’s TV show over hiking or biking outside. Even growing up near the beach, while all the other kids stormed fearlessly into the water, I timidly checked the shore for minnows, afraid of what it might feel like if one brushed my leg.

Needless to say, my name and any sort of outdoorsy, sporty accolade rarely go in the same sentence. And if they do, I’ll be the first one to knock myself down a peg with self-deprecating humor.

However, that all changed the other night when I caught a 10-pound bass.

This IS how you hold this, right?

This IS how you hold this, right?

My roommate and her boyfriend (who are 150 percent more outdoorsy than I ever hope to be) had planned to go fishing last weekend. After slight (okay, more than slight) hesitation, I decided to tag along. I figured, if anything, it would be good for a few laughs and a good photo op. Little did I know I’d end up getting the catch of the night.

It came after about an hour and a half of no bites and all casting practice. After swapping poles around, I felt a tug, followed by another tug so heavy I couldn’t hold it on my own.

After some frantic screaming and teamwork, we all pulled out the fish and marveled at its size. They said it was the biggest bass they’ve ever seen in that lake, and probably an award-winning weight. And I, of all people, was the one who caught it.

I clearly know how to handle a fish

I clearly know how to handle a fish

...but I'll leave the handling to the professionals.

…but I choose to leave it to the professionals.

It is a simple, human truth that we often underestimate our abilities. Whether it’s our performance in school, our worth in a pile of resumes or our luck holding a fishing pole, we sometimes have a tendency count ourselves out before we have a chance to finish. At least, I always have.

We often hear that confidence is key to making it in your personal and professional life — that your attitude about yourself makes a huge difference. And while this is a lecture that most people have already included in their lesson plans, it’s something that isn’t fully learned until they take the test. I’m (slowly) starting to understand the lesson.

I may not be the outdoorsy type, but that doesn’t mean I can’t surprise myself every now and then.

Hey, if I can catch a 10-pound bass, I can surely catch a little self-assurance, right?


You might be an athlete if you consider yourself a fan

When I was little, I was hardly what you would consider athletic.

Sure, I tried. I spent a brief career in softball, followed by soccer, then dance where I flopped around on stage like an uncoordinated noodle. These failed talents ultimately led me to my not-so-inevitable destiny as a basketball player, where I spent my time having coughing fits to avoid going out on the court and enjoying the cool gear I got more than the 7 a.m. practices.

Resurrected my “dancing career” for a sorority event. Guess who is standing out 10-feet taller than the others…

When I got to high school, I discovered that everyone had a niche, and performing on the court, field and stage just weren’t mine.

However, if being a fan was a sport, you better believe I’d be on a scholarship to some school in the SEC.

Dedication is driving 78 miles out of your way to go see the filming locations of your favorite TV show…like the River Court from One Tree Hill.

Over the years, my dedication transcended into different sports teams, different celebrities, different movies and different TV shows. I transitioned from fan to fangirl, which is a sport that I take very seriously.

As the true daughter of my father — the ultimate sports fanatic — I live out my genetics through yelling, which is a favorite action of mine as a fan. I’ve even borrowed some phrases over the years (“What are you waiting for, an invitation?!” and “You’re joking” are my favorites), which can be very versatile and applied to multiple situations.

I alternated between yelling and using binoculars to spy on the dugout at this game…

Just like in sports, being a fan has multiple facets to the game — and I’ve dabbled in every sector. I’ve been a dedicated fan, bandwagon fan, fairweather fan and super fan.

Whether it’s the Tampa Bay Rays, the UCF Knights, Batman (The Dark Knight series) or Glee, I’ve involved myself in them all. I’ve cheered, jeered and considered throwing in the towel (The 2008 almost-World-Series-winning season for the Rays and last Thursday’s episode of Glee to name a few instances.) I’ve seen strike outs and makeouts. I’ve rooted for players and characters. But most of all, I’ve stayed involved — and isn’t that one of the fundamentals of sports (or something) anyway?

LOL. No caption necessary.

I always heard the phrase “there’s no ‘i’ in team” in my short-lived time as an athlete. There is, however, an “i” in fangirl. And just like someone who plays tennis (which also has an “i” in it), take the solo-sport of being a fan very seriously.