posted by Matt W on June 3rd, 2015

My daughter called me in a panic the other day as she had forgotten to bring her folder for school that she keeps all her assignments in. Because she needed to turn in multiple assignments, I threw her a bone and brought it to her. I meander into the school past the playfield where a 4th grade PE class is taking place. They’re playing kickball and I think back to my elementary days and remember how cool I thought kickball was. “Step back, Matt’s up” were indeed golden words in a small boy’s ear.

I go in and drop off the folder. She actually said, “Thank you,” and seemed to have meant it which is nice for a teenage girl. As I walk back to my car, I pass the field again and I notice that almost everybody on the field sucks. The pitcher is rolling the ball and seems to be the only person I would consider an athlete. Numerous crappy kicks are followed by even crappier fielding and almost everyone makes a home run because unless the pitcher was throwing the ball to get an out, there was no way a toss would be anywhere near the runner. In stunned amazement, I watch on.

A kicker is up and kicks a ball straight up in the air to the shortstop; a proverbial “can-of-corn”. As the shortstop doesn’t have to move his feet at all to make the play I’m thinking this is an out, even this kid can’t miss this play. As the ball comes down into what I assume will be his arms, I notice that his hands aren’t even up. The ball literally misses his nose by 1 inch and hits him in the gut as it goes to the ground. The runner ends up on third because it takes awhile for the pitcher to track down the ball
and run it over there.

“Use your fucking hands” are the words that so desperately want to exit through my lips but as I am watching 4th graders at a religious school I somehow find the power to be quiet and keep my daughter enrolled. I instead stand there in disbelief as the PE teacher says, “Maybe next time you should try to put your hands up”. Really? I would personally suggest full body armor because if your natural instinct when a ball is coming at your face is to do nothing, you’re not long for this planet without protection. Don’t ever give this boy keys to a car. In caveman times, these were the people that were referred to as “food.” Now
I’m not suggesting that we need to go back to my elementary days when my PE teacher used to use the paddle on us for not wearing a jockstrap when none of us prepubescent boys had a clue as to why we had to use one, but isn’t there some middle ground. Every last one of us kids could play. We all played ball. Now some were better at football, and some baseball or kickball, but every last one of us could play. The last person picked when I was in school would have been the freaking captain of the 4th grade kickball team at my daughter’s school.

As the words “it can’t get any worse than this, can it?” enter my head, my question is immediately answered. In the outfield there is a small boy running around in circles singing “I’m a pretty pony, I’m a pretty pony, I’m a pretty pony…”

I retreat to my car and drive away.

originally posted 7/15/11



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