Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kick Ball Anyone?

Yesterday my class was playing kickball and it occurred to me how the roles people play in kickball as kids are often similar to the ones they eventually play in life. What follows is a true story. Not even my very fertile imagination could dream this up. You always hear about the emotional trauma of the kid who was consistently chosen last for playground games; well, at my school I was always chosen AFTER that kid. No really. First, the Athletic Als were picked, then the Fast Frannys, then the Average Amys, followed by the So-so Sammys, and the Slow Sallys. Then they would pick the fat kid with one eye. Seriously, we had a severely overweight boy in our class who had a glass eye. They would argue about whose team had to take him. THEN, they would look at me, point, and say, “You be the hind-catcher for both teams.” Now that said, I probably had it coming because I did hold an athletic record at my elementary school until it closed in the 90’s as the ONLY child to ever strike out twice in the same game of kickball.

As I watched the kids playing yesterday, I thought about the roles my childhood friends had on the playground and the adults they became. One friend was always the team captain. Today he owns his own business and is a great but bossy dad, still fulfilling the role of team leader. Most of the Athletic Als from my childhood played ball for years and now their kids are Al, Juniors. The Fast Franny that I knew in grade school is, indeed, still fast and she needs to be since she is the mother of twins and the principal of an elementary school. I am not sure where most of the Average Amys or So-so Sammys ended up, but at least some still live in my hometown because my nieces go to school with their children. The one-eyed kid moved away from our town during middle school and really who could blame him? I would have gone with him if my parents would have allowed it, but instead I find that I continue to try to be everything to everyone. I guess I am still trying to be the hind-catcher for everyone I know.

How about you?
What role do you see yourself as in the great kickball game of life?


  1. I was always the team captain but with a difference. I picked the kids who no body else wanted. We may not have won many games - I didn't care. I had a need even then to make people realize you can't be mean to others because they're different. If you can believe it, I was the tallest kid in fourth grade (and I haven't grown any since- no short jokes please) so the other kids were scared of me (and I used it unmercifully). I think that's why I became a lawyer: to champion the rights of others who can't do it for themselves. We do fulfill our roles in life.

    I still see a lot of my kickball team mates and the first thing they say to me is to thank me for including them when we were in school. Kind of makes me feel good. I was a rebel with a cause in school and got in trouble for it plenty of times, especially in high school. Even today I still get in trouble for championing the little guys. Just my nature. My mother always said "Your mouth overloads your a$$." Still does...

  2. I honestly can't remember playing kickball in elementary school, even though I know we did, but nothing stands out about it for me. I'd probably be one of the Average Amy's, but I'd be the first to speak up if we weren't following the rules. :)

  3. Love what you said, Cheryl.

    I must admit I have let the dust settle on most of my childhood school years. Back then, I would probably have qualified as an Average Amy, though I don't feel exactly that way about life now.

  4. I was a poor kickball player in elementary school. In high school, I went on to stink up the volley ball court, tennis court, softball field, basketball court, balance beam, uneven parallel bars, and all the tumbling mats of my life. I once fell off the trampoline. But everyone liked me--everyone except the incredibly pretty young PE teacher.

    I now sit on a board of directors with her. Either she doesn't remember or pretends not to. She isn't young anymore but she is still pretty. I'm better at board work than she is but I don't hold anything against her, God knows.

    To make up for my athletic incompetence, I could diagram a compound complex sentence with 13 prepositional phrases. I still can. I still do sometimes, if I'm not quite sure if I've got it right.

    That's why I never have comma splices.

  5. Wonderful post, Stephanie! I remember those school days well because I was busy moving from school to school. Those were the days when I had to leave my friends and make new ones. When I stood on the sidelines while others were picked because I was new and no one knew me or whether or not I had what it took to win. But, strangely enough, I discovered I could change that/reinvent myself with each move. I quickly learned to prove myself and soon found myself picked by teams fairly quickly. (Hard-earned status too)

    I was one of the Athletic Al's until H.S. when I devoted myself to being Suzie Homemaker. I also played flute in the band in Jr. High for a while. Ah! Those were the days... before H.S., that is. I absolutely abhorred H.S.

    Cheryl: I would love to have you as my TEAM captain. The world needs more champions. :)

    Danniele: You do like to follow the rules and that's a great quality. ;)

    Crystal: Even Average Amy's have their moments of brilliance! One only has to look deeper to find the extraordinary jewel that has yet to be polished.

    Jean: Your positive/witty attitude transcends any lack of athleticism you think you didn't have when you were younger. I'd much rather be around someone who brightens the world than someone who wants to win all the time. :D

    Winning isn't everything... Sometimes it's how you play the game that counts.

  6. Kathy--Oh, I want to win. I further that cause by being a spectator. As Steely Dan says, "They got a name for the winners in the world . . . . "

  7. Oh Jean! You are a winner! :D I just meant that sometimes Alabama's gotta lose so one of my teams can win. (Just teasing. But really...) ;)

    I'm extremely competitive and I think that comes from remembering what it was like to be the last player up to bat with two outs, and players on base. All we needed was a base hit to win a direct bid into the championship game. What happened? I struck out, ruining our chances, that's what happened! I've never forgotten it. Funny how these failures to measure up stick with you way into adulthood. I suppose that's why I have this thing about not wanting to let people down. ;)

  8. Cheryl-I can so see you as team captain with a conscience. lol Thats so nice that you are always looking out for the little guys. I would have loved to have been on your team. Oh, in fact I am glad to be on your team now! :-)

    Danniele-You don't remember kickball? It was the low light of my childhood. What games do you remember?

    Crystal-I didn't mean to imply that Average Amy was a bad thing...heck I would have sold my sister's soul to have been an Average Amy.

    Kathy-See how the games of our childhood shaped us. :-) You are so right that we internalized those experiences and now they are part of us.

    Jean-Thank God you have the comma splice fix since it is my favorite thing!

  9. Sorry to be latee chiming in, but my #1 son plays in an adult kickball league in Birmingham. Honest.

    Believe it or not, I was Athletic Al in kickball. I was the first girl in my class to kick the ball to the end of the PE field and down the embankment. That was a big deal -- a sign of being a power kicker.