A Playground Story

By David Decoteau

 

Once a month, the kids have to decide what to do at recess. Half the class always wants to play kickball. The other half of the class wants to play dodgeball.

For the past two months, the kids who wanted to play kickball won the vote. The dodgeball kids were not happy when they lost. They grumbled and frankly never really put their heart into kickball: but they played. Sometimes they said, "Kickball is stupid." Most felt this way, because they weren't that good at kickball.  But what are you going to do: sit there at recess?

This month, two kids got sick on vote day, and in a twist of fate: the dodgeball kids won. This really made the kickball kids upset, and they said it wasn't fair, because if those kids wouldn't have gotten sick, the kickball kids would have won the vote again. They tried to pursuade the teacher to take a revote when the kids returned: but the Teacher said that the class set the rule, and that the vote was final.  The kickball kids had to abide by the vote - even if they felt it was unfair.

The dodgeball kids were really happy and they started picking up the bases and relining the playground for dodgeball. This really aggrevated the kickball kids! It took them a long time to set up that kickball area and get good at kickball. And here they were having to watch it being taken apart; right in front of them. They went home and told their parents.

The parents started calling the school Principal. They made their case that kickball was clearly the better playground game. They argued that dodgeball was barbaric and any kid that wanted to play dodgeball, was obviously mentally deficient, and likely a victim of some kind of abuse at home.

To their dismay, the parents found that the Principle had lettered in dodgeball during college, and that he saw the declining status of dodgeball as an indication of a generation that had lost it's way.  The Principal found value in rising above the adversity encountered in a contact sport like dodgeball.  He felt that kickball was too "soft" and didn't build mental toughness.  He was glad that the dodgeball kids had finally won a vote after two month of waiting patiently.  The Principal wanted to make recess great again: and he told the parents as much.

The kickball parents were outraged by the Principals answer, and they started a Facebook group called the, "United Society of Upset Recess Parents" (or U.S.U.R.P for short). The purpose of the group was to share their outrage and discuss a strategy for getting kickball back as the recess pastime. After some passionate social media ranting and a meet-up at the mall food court (but not Chic-Fil-a) the group decided to hire a Private Investigator to look into how the school distrct had hired such an obviously misguided maniac to run the school.

In the meantime, the Parents informed the Teacher that their kids would no longer be participating in recess until this situation was rectified.  Furthermore, some of the more upset parents demanded that their kids even skip snack-time. There was talk of a story-time, "group-hum" to disrupt the listening and imagination pleasure of the other children; but cooler heads prevailed. The class was in chaos!

The Private investigator worked quickly to find the information requested. Turns out, the Principle had been unceremoniously divorced as a younger man after a spontaneous Vegas wedding to a cute craps Dealer after a night of gambling and revelry. He also got behind on his taxes, two years later, and had to file an extension for over 60 days. He also had an unpaid parking tickets.  There was also a rumor of jaywalking, but that couldn't be confirmed conclusively.

Armed with this information, the Parents had all they needed.  It was obvious, that this was a person of questionable values.  Sure, the Principal before him spent some time at the bar, and maybe did questionable things of her own: but she was a kickball woman, and clearly not in the same class as this deviant.  The parents planned to pack their kids in the car and head to the School Board meeting with the rest of U.S.U.R.P: in a mass show of strength and solidarity!  Power to the kickball people!  Justice will be served...in the form of a rolling red rubber ball!

Back at the playground, some of the kids were quietly getting tired of sitting out recess day after day at the demands of their parents.  They were also getting lightheaded from low blood sugar, as a result of an extended period of snack-time, hungerstriking.  Within a couple of days, the kids started eating their snacks again, and some even tried the dodgeball.

The first few kids that tried dodgeball, got called names by the really hard-core, snack-deprived, pine-riding, kickball kids.  A couple of the kids got their feelings hurt, and went back to sitting out recess, because they didn't want the negative attention.  But a few of the kickball kids kept playing dodgeball and yelled back, "What the heck!  It's only recess and it's only one month.  We'll likely win the next vote, and go back to kickball.  I'm not sitting here for a month.  I'm not a baby.  Maybe I'll even learn that there are parts of dodgeball."

Before too long, almost all of the kids were playing dodgeball at recess again.  Some half-heartedly, but most seemingly having a good time.  At the very least, they were staying busy and talking to the other kids and laughing.  That by itself was better than just sitting there, sulking. 

But a few, had to continue their boycott, because they had been too extreme in the beginning to go back now.  They could never save face if they relented.  Now they had to sit there for a month, and lose their fitness and laughter  - as they waited for their turn.  But they were resolved.

And as those couple of kids waited, their hurt feelings and hate of dodgeball grew each day.  How splendid it will be when the next recess vote comes, and kickball is restored to it's rightful place as top recess activity, they thought.  Glorious Kickball!  They would imagine how great it was going to feel as they erased the dodgeball court lines.  How they would smile as the dodgeball kids sat and watch and cried.  How they would make sure the Teacher enforced the rules more than ever on the dodgeball kids; and make them conform.  And how maybe, with a little luck, the words of their parents would come true, and the stupid Principal would be fired as a result of the good work of U.S.U.R.P!  Maybe at that point, the kickball kids and U.S.U.R.P. could totally change the rules: and Dodgeball would be made Illegal once and for all!  The new kickball friendly Principal would obviously use her powers more appropriately and dictate that dodgeball be banished.  Just her choice of playground sports shows that she is obviously more intelligent and ethical than the stupid dodgeball Principal!  Oh, these coming days will be glorious days indeed!

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Meanwhile, the Janitor, noticing the ruckus, said to the school Lunch Lady, "Why are the damn fool adults even involved in recess?"  Shaking his head; he went back to mopping.

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