a ball of life

Remember gym class?

For some reason this morning when I woke up, my first thoughts were of gym class, and more specifically – dodge ball.

Dodge ball days were always met with a sort of nervousness in the air. The girls would be slightly less chatty and the boys would be eying each other up, knowing that in an instant, best friends could become bitter enemies depending on which way a small, orange ball bounced.

I was always “The Skinny Kid” so I was athletic, but not nearly as tough as the bigger guys in my class. But somehow dodge ball was my ticket to stardom. You didn’t have to throw the ball very far, and being skinny I was also fast, so I could dodge the ball (pun fully intended) easily most times.

These were days when I knew I could become a hero. These were days that I stood a chance of getting that glance from the prettiest girl in the class, Kelly Cook. These were also days when I could somehow stand toe to toe with Jake Breiding, a boy who, rumor had it, started shaving when he was 7. I don’t think I need to tell you that Jake Breiding was fucking cool.

Most games of dodge ball ended the same way though – with the Jake Breidings (ever notice how names from your past sound so odd when you think about them now?) of the world triumphing over the The Skinny Kids of the world.

But there were those days when something special would happen – when a girl (“She can’t possibly win,” all the guys would think) would make an amazing grab and thus win the game despite all the odds. Or there were those days when I, The Skinny Kid, would win one for the small guys, my eyes beaming and full of pride.

I’d get a nod of approval from Jake Breiding and maybe, just maybe, a brief glance from Kelly Cook.

And that would make all the difference in the world.

What are your memories of gym class?


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10 responses to “a ball of life

  1. Jake Breiding, rumor had it, started shaving when he was 7.

    Ha … awesome.

    I was totally that kid that was way too enthusiastic about gym class, but totally supportive. All I wanted was for people to try — it was the one time during the day we were ALLOWED to run around!

  2. yeah, you had to hate it when there were those kids who just sat around and didn’t want to play. I never understood it either.

  3. tiff

    A) apollocreed is an awesome name.
    B) ALF, FTW. that totally cheered me up, thanks.
    C) Dodgeball was every friday, and it was a nightmare, like that episode of Freaks and Geeks. All of our GIANT football players played on Fridays (I think they had gym from periods 1-6 on Fridays and played dodgeball all day) and even the coaches would get in on the action, I mean torture. I usually tried to get hit first so I could sit out and not DIE.

  4. Gym class was the enemy.
    I played the I’m sick card.
    I tried to hide away from the teacher’s eyes when I had to participate.
    The last two years of high school I got my doctor to give me a note.
    In leiu of the group sweat I had to write book reports on sports heros.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, and thanks for the lovely compliment.

  5. Oh I loved dodgeball too. I used to find that most of the girls would stand in a huddle at the beginning so they were easy targets, and then once the less active fellas were out of the way it came down to the big grudge match.

    Of course all the girls got their revenge when it came to trampoline class. I never did get that.

  6. tiff – a) thanks, he’s awesome b) love ALF and how he always had those sarcastic comebacks! Who knew aliens were so witty? c) ah, one of those – yes this was a strategy employed by many girls.

    frances – “group sweat” hahaha. It’s also funny how teachers always use book reports as an alternative to something. I wish I could do that in life now. To the feds – “Instead of sending you my tax returns this year, I have provided you with a book report on ‘Where the Red Fern Grows.’ Enjoy.”

    James – “Trampoline class?” Please explain, it sounds hilarious.

  7. I loved dodgeball. I was a total tomboy in grade school.

    What sucked about gym class was when I was in 8th grade and my family bought new house. While seeing the house for the first time, in walked my gym teacher who was pretty young. His parents were selling us our new house. Every time he could announce that and point me out, he totally would. It was not cool to my 8th grade self.

  8. Jamie – oh man, that sucks. What an ass. You should have beamed him with the ball.

  9. …when something special would happen – when a girl …would make an amazing grab and thus win the game

    Or when a scrawny girl (like, say, me) would take an errant dodgeball to the face and bleed all over the gym…thus ending the game and ensuring that Ryan Blough would call her “Stain” for the rest of the year.

    No one wanted to take Stain to any of the dances.

  10. J-Money – hahahaha!!! Oh my god, that comment is fucking hilarious – seriously, the last line had me laughing out loud in my office.

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