Gridiron on the Playground

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From the ages of 7 to 12 football at recess was the highlight of any school day. I also think this was true for all of my friends that played with me. I have retained many friends that I still have today through playing football on the playground. As Muhammad Ali once said, “Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”
When the recess bell rang, the kid whose duty it was to bring the football for that week would dart to his locker, grab the ball, and try to catch up with us as we were racing out to the gridiron. If this designated person forgot the ball, it wasn’t that big of a deal because it seemed like someone always had an extra one.
When everyone was out to the field and ready to go, which took hardly any time from the time the recess bell rang, we would pick teams. Now, picking teams usually only occurred once a day at first recess, unless one of the hierarchy players decided that the teams were unfair. The drafting process was arranged by getting two captains and then having the older one pick first. This is why from about the ages of kindergarten to fourth grade being a few months older than someone granted you bragging rights.

After the teams were somewhat evenly split, we wouldn’t waste any time starting to play. The team who got to pick first always had to kick off to start the game. Our game’s were usually two-hand touch, but every once in a while someone would check to see if the aide was looking, and if she wasn’t, that particular person might just happen to take a bellowing cheap shot to the person with the ball. If this happened it usually resulted in the other team retaliating and also starting to play tackle. After things escalated, us elementary school kids would have high school football type intensity. Every elementary school kid wasn’t cut out for this type of game play, so those kids eventually quit or even worse, told the aide on us. If the aide was told or she saw us playing tackle, this was always bad news and could result in the handing out of “blue slips” depending on the severity. After a long lecture that we had heard numerous times from the recess aide, we went back to our old ways, two-hand touch. This was never as fun, but we really didn’t have any choice because now the aide was watching us like a hawk. As a little kid, football was football, so we were happy playing any type of the game. Something that really was hard to deal with was recess coming to an end and having to go back to class.

In elementary school we had three recesses a day. There were two 15-minute recesses (the first and last) and than one 30-minute recess after lunch. 30 minutes in elementary school sometimes felt like an eternity, which was a good thing because it meant more playing time. However, Just the fact that we had to put a stop to our game whenever the aide with the whistle so desired and go back to class put knots in my stomach just thinking about it. Sometimes we could anticipate when she was about to blow the whistle, so both teams would hurry and try to score that last touchdown, which might put them ahead. Each recess represented a different game and we always kept score. The devastation of the end whistle blowing to a losing team was hard to bear, but football on the playground was a harsh game, both physically and mentally.

Football was a love-hate relationship for me as a little kid. It was sometimes frustrating watching the less experienced kids try and play. It was also hard losing to some of the cockier kids and knowing that you wouldn’t hear the end of it during class. At the same time I experienced some of the most thrilling moments like diving to catch the winning touchdown and hearing the roar of my team and the groans of the opposing team. I also made many friendships that have lasted to this day.





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mmmmmaaaaammmmm said...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 8:57 am
this was a good story but it was to deatiled. shoter ones please
 
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