Of all the epic matches in history...
Ali vs. Frazier, Jobs vs. Gates, Swift vs. Perry, Lord Business vs. Emmett.
None of them compare to this...
Ramona vs. Sheri in a "Shamona" Tap Off!
"Imma Tap That" By Sheri Lynch
I bet you have a list of things in your head that you secretly or maybe not so secretly believe that you’d be pretty good at if you ever gave them a shot. I know I do. Mine isn’t a very long list:
- Tap dancing
- Inline skating
The list used to be longer – but I’ve tried some of the things that once made the list and discovered that my imagined skills were just that – imaginary. This list of failures includes:
- Paddle boarding
- Hang gliding
- Marriage* (Marriage is under reevaluation since I married Kevin. Turns out it really does take two.)
Why did I believe I’d be good at paddle boarding? I can’t say. I only learned how to swim a few years ago and have yet to really get comfortable with it. My core strength is debatable; I have a complete horror of sun exposure, and honestly, am not very keen on being either wet or cold. It’s just that paddle boarding looks so fun when you see pictures of Jennifer Aniston doing it in US Weekly, you know? My maiden voyage on the board took place in New Mexico at Bottomless Lake State Park. I didn’t get a chance to do much paddling, since I was never able to remain upright on the board for more than 8 seconds. What I mostly did was flail about in the water and heave myself repeatedly back on to the board with all the grace and finesse of an asthmatic porpoise. My husband – watching from shore – very loyally declared that if only those rental boards had been better quality, then I would have nailed it. (See number 3 above re: marriage reevaluation.)
Why did I believe I’d be good at hang gliding? I can’t say. I’m kind of terrified of heights, and not a huge fan of flying. If you don’t enjoy flying in a nice, big jet staffed by trained professionals, why assume that dangling from an oversized kite might somehow be your thing? Caught up in the spirit of Wilbur and Orville Wright, I tried hang gliding at an airstrip near Kitty Hawk. I was nearly blind with panic and terror for every second of the flight. Every. Second. I can still close my eyes and recapture the sensation of uncoupling from the ultralight plane that towed us to altitude and sweet Jesus I need an Ativan just remembering that day. Let’s change the subject.
Back to the list of things I secretly believe I’d be pretty good at. Shockingly, inline skating turned out to be something I really could do. And canoeing - I can now actually paddle the thing in the intended direction and (mostly) stay safely aboard. But the biggest fantasy of all, the one I’ve nursed since childhood, the one that I have never, ever, ever been able to let go of is tap dancing. Just watching tap makes my whole body vibrate. I can hardly stay in my seat. It’s like in some past life I was a power hoofer and the cells in my body can still remember every shuffle ball change. If I could magically go back in time and add only one improvement to my childhood, it’d be tap dance lessons starting at age 5 and never stopping. That’s how much I have always wished I could tap dance.
The opportunity to put my undiscovered tap potential to the test finally came last year. I started tap lessons with Miss Tiffany Hilliard about 5 months ago. Kevin offered to come too, saying that tap was cool and it’d be a fun thing to do together. (See number 3 above re: marriage reevaluation.) Tragically, I am not good at tap. It appears that I have neither coordination nor rhythm. I might have had the potential for these things at age 5, but that was a while ago and who knows how many would-be tap brain cells I’ve pickled in all those dirty martinis I’ve tossed back over the years?
But who cares? I love tap dancing even more now that I know I’m bad at it. Ever seen a horse count to 10 with its hoof? Yeah, that’s me when I tap. Except the horse’s accomplishment is significantly more impressive, what with it being damn unusual for a horse to do math. I’m not joking or being self-deprecating. Tap requires that your feet do multiple things that they’re not used to doing – and then each foot often has to do something different from the other, but simultaneously. Also, there’s hopping, leaping, and balancing involved. It seems that my brain and my feet don’t really communicate very well. Sure, I can throw a few flaps and broadway steps together and if you squint your eyes, you might be fooled for half a minute. But do that to music? Not a chance. Miss Tiffany says, listen to the sounds you’re making. Follow the rhythm. But what works for me is when Miss Tiffany turns off the music and calls out the names of the steps – I can usually manage to tap my way through that. See how skewed toward language my brain is? Words are the only thing I can dance to.
I refuse to quit, though. I refuse. I may never be able to dash off a graceful, sassy little combo like my friends Ramona and Jessica can. (And they do this after saying, oh my God, girl, I haven’t worn in tap shoes in 10 years – and then they basically impersonate Shirley freaking Temple.) God knows I will never execute one of the wicked fast ninja flying feet tap maneuvers that Miss Tiffany does. But every time I manage to complete a combo without stumbling, especially if it’s a combo that moves across the floor, there’s this fleeting moment, this one nanosecond where my brain and my feet actually do work together and I’m doing it, I’m really doing it, I’m tap dancing! I’ve got happy feet! Not skilled, not impressive, but happy happy happy feet.