Monday, May 11, 2009

Next Time, Just Drop It Over The Fence

The teachers at Apathy Elementary School have a hard rule about playground balls that leave the playground. If the ball leaves the playground it is gone for good. Students are not allowed to retrieve a ball that rolls onto the parking lot. Teachers will not get them. So, it is not uncommon for me to see three or four balls sitting next to the curb after I drop off Captain Chaos at preschool, and see a playground full of kids doing other activities. Since I have more sympathy and understanding than the teachers do for the misdirected kicks and errant throws from the fifth grade and younger crowd, I frequently get out of my van, pick up the balls, and throw them back to the playground. Until yesterday, I did not realize that the children recognized my van. Not only do they know my van, but they also know that when the van stops they are getting their balls returned. The kids get really excited.

There are two sentences that probably should be rewritten, but I think you know what I mean.

In a scene that could be in an Adam Sandler movie, I stopped the van after spying a purple soccer ball wedged against the tire of a car. As I climbed out to pick up the ball I heard the excited cry, “Hey, he’s giving us the ball back! We’re getting the ball!” I looked up to see a dozen kids running back to the kickball diamond to resume their recess game. Smiling, I looked to the kid who was shouting, reared back, and launched a long, high throw that was certain to land near home plate.

Do you see what’s coming yet?

The ball was in the air for four or five seconds, long enough for me to watch its trajectory in amused horror, because the moment the ball left my hand I saw another young boy running across the playground, completely oblivious to Wilson’s flight path. He was running right to left from my perspective, angled slightly away from my direction. He never saw me standing thirty yards to his left. He never saw the ball. He was too focused on his friend’s announcement that the game would resume.

“Shoot!” I said to myself. I stood there helplessly watching the inevitable collision, waiting for some teacher to start chewing me out, for the sound of sirens as the police and ambulance approached, too dumbstruck at my own stupidity to call out a word of warning to the young lad.

Luckily, it was a glancing blow.

The ball came down and ricocheted off the left side of his head. He stumbled slightly, twirled in a circle, but maintained his balance as he slowed to a stop. Much to my relief, he was laughing.

“Are you alright?” I called out.

He looked across the playground at me, still smiling. “Yeah!” he called back.

“I am very sorry about that!” I shouted.

“That’s okay!” he replied, waving. Then he turned and joined in the game.


Kathleen said...

It sounds like you are doing some real good work there in Apathy. Keep it up!

TeacherMommy said...

And you didn't even give him a head's up warning?



CrossView said...

LOL! I can see the headline:
"Man Interefering Causes Children's Injuries"
and a lawsuit follows??!!

Linda said...

HAHA!!! I love it! All the kids in the school are gonna wanna join your homeschool next year!!