The real explanation behind professional athletes is not necessarily innate or inherent talent. It is the ability not to kill themselves as toddlers.
Baseball: Get hit in the head with a ball. Chase after it. Get distracted by the tee. Canvass the backyard clutching the bat and tee stand.
Hockey: Slip and slide in socks across the kitchen floor stick tapping the tile until your brother takes you out with *his* stick. Giggle when Mom puts you both in the penalty box.
Basketball: Throw the ball at the bucket. Retrieve the ball. Stand directly over the bucket. Fire ball into the bucket With. Authority. Or sit in the laundry basket with a ball.
Soccer: Run wild around the yard. Kick things. Sometimes on purpose.
Dodge Ball: Throw things. All the things. At parents, friends and siblings.
Billiards: Poke at plastic softball-size baseball on tee with handle of bat. Break balls (and other toys).
Horse Racing: Bounce on Lucky the Possessed Pony until his safely covered red springs threaten to snap. Rock so hard the stationary horse actually moves forward.
Rodeo: Tip over Lucky the Possessed Pony in a fit of rage. Desperately try to right the horse – end up hogtying the stuffed animal instead.
Gymnastics: Climb up onto Lucky the Possessed Pony by yourself. Stand up on the saddle. Let go of the handles and raise arms into victory stance.
Track and Field: Toddlers have two speeds: Running and falling. Invisible hurdles, long jumps and high jumps. Also escaping bedtime or diaper changes.
Biking: Scoot around on foot-powered tricycle. Master the art of riding backwards because you haven’t figured out the motor skills involved in going forward.
Rock Climbing: Scale everything. Entertainment cabinets, cribs, couches, dogs. Learn technique of holding on no matter what – especially if Mom tries to put you down (god forbid for a nap or to pick up your brother).
Motorcross: Ride Power Wheels. Don’t bother with steering – take on obstacles, like tables or trees, head on.
Swimming: Graduate from flooding the bathroom to accidentally turning on the outdoor water line. Or experiment with the dogs’ water spicket. (Don’t let Mom catch you drinking out of it.)
Football: Pick up object that will serve to stand in as the football. Charge! Tackle your brother.
Bowling: Run in a direct line at any collection of objects. DESTROY ALL THE THINGS!
Wrestling: They’re toddlers. They’re two. They’re boys.