May 29, 2006


When I was a kid on the playground, we had many activities to choose from to keep us occupied. Monkey bars, 4-square, tether-ball, dodge ball, spitting on girls... you remember. The good ol' days. I was out walking today and for some reason started thinking about 6th grade and dodge ball. Mr. K our teacher used to throw 3-4 balls up in the air and then played referee. If you got hit by a ball, you were out. If someone threw the ball at you and you caught it, they were out.

Now, the thing I'm thinking about isn't whether I spent more time in the game or standing on the sidelines hoping someone would Wally Preston upside the head with a ball when he wasn't looking. (I don't think I was vindictive minded in those days.) Anyway, I was thinking about what happened when the balls were initially thrown in the air. They arced high above our heads. Deep red rubber balls. They heaved nicely and made a perfect THWOCK when they hit someone squarely.

Some people would run for the ball. Others ran screaming (or just ran) away from where the balls were coming down. I wonder if you tracked people through life if the people who ran away are more or less successful in their approach to life. I'm not saying there is one approach that is the only way to be successful, but those who ran toward the balls took risks. If Johnny Brightling got there first and you were close, you had a high probability of being sent to the sideline early on. Not always, but a good percentage. It wasn't always the biggest, strongest kids that ran for the ball either. Some part of me wonders if this game isn't a good predictor for sadism later in life. Or is just about winning?

I haven't seen the game played in years, but I have these fuzzy edged images in my mind that relay all too well how the game went. THWOCK, THWOCK, THWOCK... what a great sound. The game was one of being alive. Blood pumping. Legs churning. Moving right, left, up and down. Sometimes you'd be a double target or you'd double target someone else and they'd get nailed twice. Someone told me recently that I'm like 'the box of chocolates in Forrest Gump'. Maybe I am, but for today, I'm going to imagine I'm more like a kid in a game of dodge ball. Perhaps not as agile or graceful as the other kids, but still in the game and trying to find a way to take out the Wally Preston's of the world.


At 11:04 AM, Blogger 30Something said...

Nice... I haven't thought of that in years either.. lol, the good ole days of no worries.

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Binsk said...

I was SO good at dodge ball when I was a young pup. I was always one of the last girls left. The boys called me "Chicken of the Sea", I guess since they couldn't hit me they had to make up a reason why, I was too chicken to be hit by the ball. Whatever boys I was just better than you. Oh what? Yes, I am having a pretend 25 year old conversation.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger LyZa said...

i was one of the best players when i was young. maybe because i'm small that's why they had a hard time hitting me.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger G3T Films said...

Sorry, didn't realise this was a private party.


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