The door slammed open. “It’s time to go to school Cole.” All the sudden the six-year-old’s eyes popped open. It was time for Cole’s first day of kindergarten. He could finally go to school, and make some friends. Cole jumped out of bed, put on his favorite pair of jeans and his green shirt. He wanted to look best for all the people he was about to meet. Cole ran down the stairs, and dumped out the cereal that he ate every day, Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
After breakfast, Cole got into the car and a few minutes of waiting, he was there. The red-brick building that he had passed everyday on his way to preschool. Cole always wanted to go to this school but he didn't really know how to make friends he never was given the opportunity before.
As his mom turned into the drop-off lane, he knew this was the moment. Cole quickly kissed his mom goodbye, opened the door, and rushed out. Cole’s mom with haste drove away, she was late for work.
Cole looked around, but he did not recognize anyone. He tried to recall what he was supposed to do. He remembered that his mom said he has to go to Mr. Stant’s room for Kindergarten. Unfortunately Cole did not know where Mr. Stant’s room actually was. He was lost in his new school and too shy to ask others where he needed to be. After a few minutes of stumbling around, he heard the school bell ring. Kids started going everywhere. Confused, Cole moved to the corner, he did not want to be in anybody’s ways. After a few minutes, the halls were emptied. Cole extracted from his corner and knew he had to get to Mr. Stant’s room but there was no one in sight. There was a bench on the right of the hallway and Cole took a seat. He started to worry that he would never make it to Mr. Stant’s room.
After a few minutes of worrying, a tall looking woman wearing black came down the hallway. She knelt down to Cole.
“Hey little buddy. My name is Caroline and I’m in charge recess here at the school, How are you doing?”
Cole, almost in tears, replied “My name is Cole, today is my first day of school and I was supposed to go to Mr. Stant’s room but I don’t even know how to get there.”
Caroline replied with confidence, “Everyone is confused on their first day of school, don’t worry. I can bring you to Mr. Stant’s room.”
Caroline walked Cole down the stairs, right, left, and right again until they come across what looked like a huge door that opened inward. Caroline opens the door, there was a tall man there circled with many other kids. Cole walked in and was really excited he made it to the room.
Caroline interrupted, “Excuse me Mr. Stant, this is Cole and he says he is in your kindergarten class.”
Mr. Stant, a tall port-bellied bald guy with glasses, answered “Ah, Cole we have been expecting you. Thank you, Caroline.” Mr. Stant motioned for Cole to come over and join the circle.
Still worried Cole came over and joined the circle. Mr. Stant exclaimed “Cole we just finished everyone and now it’s your turn. Please say your name and your favorite type of sport”
Nervously Cole replied, “Hi um, my name is Cole Groth and my favorite sport is tennis.” Nobody really heard Cole. He was one of those students that are quiet and hard to understand. As Cole finished he realized that introducing himself was way harder than he thought it was. Making friends was going to be a new challenge for him. Cole sat on his desk with his name on it just like the other kindergarteners.
Lost in thought, Cole ignored what Mr. Stant is saying and he thought to himself instead, “How am I going to make friends when I don’t even know other people’s names? What if the people I meet don’t even like me? What is that person’s name over there?” What felt like hours of Cole asking himself questions, Mr. Stant came by and interrupted Cole’s thoughts and says
“Are you going to go outside with the other kids, you know it’s time for recess right?” Cole loved recess, It was what he saw all the big kids doing when he was on his way to preschool. Cole grabbed his jacket and ran outside. This was his time to make friends.
As he made his way outside, Caroline, the recess supervisor, was behind him and carried a big bucket of balls. A wide variety of balls, soccer balls, basketballs, racquet balls, and volleyballs. Caroline went and dropped the bucket off in the middle of the playground. Kids suddenly started swarming the bucket picking up any ball they could get their hands on.
Cole walked over to the ball bucket and looked in. The only ball left was a grimy, molded, disgusting deteriorating tennis ball. Cole picks the ball up excitedly because he loved tennis. Cole began to toss the ball up and down, up and down, up and down, always just to himself. Cole is just having a great time tossing this ball.
After recess Cole went back to Mr. Stant’s room and all he could think about is playing with his ball the next day. School ended and Cole went home.
Day after day Cole went to school so he can play with his tennis ball. It had been about a week and Cole has started to make his new school a routine. Get to school, ignore Mr. Stant, go to recess, play with his tennis ball, go back inside, Ignore Mr. Stant, and go home. Cole began to develop a personal relationship with the ball, because he still did not really know anyone else at school. After a couple more days Cole named the ball, Bally. He could not wait to play with Bally every day. Him and Bally were going to be friends forever. Cole decided to tell his mom about his new friend. About how his friend liked to be called Bally instead of his real name. Cole’s mom was so proud that Cole found a friend. She was scared that Cole was not going to make any friends because she sometimes thought Cole is socially awkward and did not really instigate any conversation with others. She was proud that Cole found a friend.
Like every day before, Cole greeted Bally like a friend. “Bally how is your day going?” Only this day, Bally responded. “I’m doing better now that you showed up Cole. How are you doing Cole?”
In Shock, Cole said “I’m doing just fine. I am so glad that I can make your day better. I don’t seem to be making anybody else’s day better every time I come to school.”
Bally responded again, “That’s okay Cole, I’m glad that you play with me every day.”
It became a normal thing for Cole to talk to Bally during recess. As all the other kids played with each other Cole sat on a bench on the playground with Bally right next to him. Caroline had noticed this before but did not do anything because she thought it was just a phase. Now Caroline sees Cole pick up the Grimy tennis ball and go to the bench every day. Caroline thought she had to do something because after two months, Cole still did not have any friends on the playground and just sits next to a ball every day. Caroline decided to go to Mr. Stant and talk about Cole.
She asks Mr. Stant, “Does Cole have any friends when he is not at recess?”
After some thinking, Mr. Stant replied back, “No, not really actually, I have not seen him talk to a single student ever since the first day of school. What’s wrong?”
Caroline exclaimed “Well every day during recess I see Cole take a gross tennis ball out of the ball bucket, go sit on the bench and talk to it. He calls it Bally.”
In shock, Mr. Stant decided, “I think we should talk to Cole but if nothing changes we should have a meeting with his mom.”
The next day Mr. Stant lets all the kids go outside and play but kept Cole inside. Mr. Stant holding the tennis ball in this hand, asks Cole, “Cole why do you talk to this tennis ball instead of playing with other kids on the playground?”
Cole answered excitedly to Mr. Stant “Mr. Stant, that’s my friend Bally! we have been friends ever since the first day of school. He even talks to me!”
Disgusted in Cole’s answer, Mr. Stant replied, “Cole this is not your friend. This is just a ball. Why don’t you go play with Olivia or Thomas instead. This tennis ball cannot talk.”
Worried Cole responded, “But, Mr. Stant, Bally talked to me, I swear. Don’t do anything to Bally!”
“This ball deserves to be put in the trash. It’s disgusting!” Immediately Mr. Stant threw the tennis ball into the trash and said “Cole, do not take the ball out of there.”
Cole cried the rest of the day. Bally was in the trash and Mr. Stant told him not to take it out.
When school ended, Cole got into his mom’s car crying his eyes out.
Cole’s mom asked, “What’s the matter honey?”
Cole responded, “Mr. Stant said that Bally deserved to be in the trash.”
Pissed off at Mr. Stant, Cole’s mom parked and stomped into Mr. Stants room with Cole. Cole’s mom said to Mr. Stant “ Are you kidding me! You told my son’s best friend, Bally” that he deserved to be in the trash you better have an explanation for this!”
“Yes, Yes, Yes, Mrs. Groth. Bally is a ball from the recess bucket that Cole has named Bally. Cole talks to the Ball every day at recess and doesn't do anything else.”
Calmed down a little, Cole’s mom asks Cole “Cole, is this true, is Bally really just a tennis ball, do you talk to anyone else during recess and at school?”
Cole said “Mom, Bally talks to me I don’t need any other friends as long as I have Bally.”
Worried for Cole, she said “Cole, Bally is just a ball. You need to make more friends on the playground during recess. Mr. Stant is right. Now let’s go home and get you some dinner.”
Cole said nothing. He just started to cry. Nobody believed that Bally was real.
The next day at school Cole went and looked into the tub at recess and Bally wasn’t there. Instead there was just a short little, perfectly braided piece of rope. Cole grabbed the rope and said “I’m gonna call you Ropey.”