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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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