COMMENTARY –A few years ago I was broadcasting a college women’s basketball game. One of the teams had a center who was extremely skilled. She was also large. At 6-foot-3 and approximately 240-pounds, this lady was king-sized.
Her body size made her a perfect college basketball center. She was strong enough to earn position in the low blocks, wide enough that defenders had a hard time reaching around her and talented enough to score almost at will in the low post.
She was also very smart. Instead of complaining to everyone she met about how she wasn’t blessed with a prototypical female body, she used her God-given attributes to excel at a sport enough that it paid for her college education. Rather than go on a starvation diet or join up with Jenny Craig, this young woman looked at her large, beautiful body and said to herself, “How can I make this work for me?”
Sometimes a topic is so sensitive, most writers refuse to tackle it. Many figure the chance of offending someone makes it not worth the risk. Hey, when’s the last time you read a story celebrating the king-sized people of the world?
I have a friend I play basketball with occasionally who is very king-sized. He has me by four or five inches and at least 50 pounds. That may not sound like a big deal until you consider that I am 6-5 and over 300-pounds myself.
I like him. He is like a lot of really king-sized people: gentle, sensitive, upbeat and mellow.
King-sized people are usually misunderstood. The stereotype is this: King-size people are big and dumb, more suited to be bouncers or light bulb-changers, who eat too much and shouldn’t be allowed in a buffet line unless they paid double.
The truth is, as always with stereotypes, way more complicated. We are big and some of us are dumb, though I suspect we’re even on the intelligence scale with regular-sized people. Some of us are bouncers and I change a mean light bulb, but we are also writers, doctors, lawyers and just about every other occupation out there (including actors, like my favorite, the late Michael Clarke Duncan). We eat just about the same amount of food as regular-sized people. In fact, my three skinny sons can out-eat me over and under the table.
However, you won’t find most of us on amusement park rides, zip lines or personal watercraft (all three have weight limits of around 300 pounds). We don’t like to fly. The seats are too small and too close together. Plus, some regular-sized person is going to roll their eyes when they see us approaching their row of seats.
Most of us king-sizers don’t like being the center of attention. Just once, it would be nice to go unnoticed, to melt into the crowd. We don’t sneak into anything.
But, like that women’s college basketball player, most of us have come to grips with who and what we are. I like being king-sized. I can reach the top shelves in just about any store. I can see over people in crowded rooms. Lifting things is not a problem.
Sure, there are trade-offs. We have to buy most of our clothes online. We hit our heads a lot. They don’t sell scales at Wal-Mart big enough for us (what do want a scale for, anyway). We’ll never play running back or wide receiver (which is a little ironic — “wide” receiver). In high school, I had the best arm on the football team. I was a good student who knew the offense. But I never got a chance at quarterback. The coach took one look at me and put me on the offensive line.
I was going to name some of the great king-sized players we have in Region 9, but even I am a little worried that someone might take it the wrong way. So let me just say this: Here’s to the big guys and gals in southern Utah. We have wonderful young people who are extra-extra-extra large. Most of them play offensive line in football, middle blocker in volleyball and center in basketball. They are the heavyweights in wrestling (now called 285-plus) and the shot-putters in track.
They don’t fit as well in the uniforms (designed by small people for small people). They get cramps in the school buses on road trips. And they work as hard as everyone else, perhaps harder.
Be proud, king-sizers. Without us, who would do the blocking? Without us, who would be the villains in movies?
We may not be soccer players or point guards. But we are lovers and thinkers.
And we can change the light bulb, too.
Andy Griffin is a sports commentator and the views expressed here are not necessarily those of St. George News.
Copyright St. George News, StGeorgeUtah.com Inc., 2012, all rights reserved.