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Dodgeball

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The sweat trickled down my neck.  The sun beating down against my skin burning through the freshly applied sunscreen.  My joints held stiff at attention and muscles strained to stay still and standing.
In the not so far off in the distance, Mr. Posner announced to the band, “Dodgeball starts in 15 minutes!  All you have to do is make it through the next 15 minutes of rehearsal and then the night is yours.”

Every mind on the practice field was saying silently to themselves, you can do this, it’s only 15 minutes.  You survived the other 9 hours now you’re right at the finish.  My heart was racing with anticipation, calves burning from roll stepping and marching.   My internal clock ticking as we re-run set after set.  Till finally the glorious words spilled out of Mr. Posner’s mouth,”Practice is over for the night!  Dodgeball games will begin at 8:00pm!”  My lungs decompressed as my heart filled with joy. I promptly packed my instrument in its case and strolled over to the field house where the dodgeball games were going to take place. 


As I entered the field house a force of cool air hit me like a wall.  Quickly I raced over and sat in the stands impatiently awaiting the games to begin.  Over the course of about ten or so minutes, the crowd of people ready to participate grew in size. Then a teacher yelled for everyone to divide up on the two sides of the court based on instrument. The game immediately began. A few of the brave upperclassmen darted to middle court to retrieve balls but I stayed back hoping to prolong my chance of survival.  The balls flew through the air and were hitting people left and right as they dropped to the ground with a mixture of disappointment and laughter.  Another ball soared past my ear and hit the tarp behind me with a loud thud. 


I called,”Max!!”


He whipped his head around as I tossed a ball to him.  The same thing consistently happening for quite sometime. 


Finally I worked up enough courage to throw one of the many scattered balls for the first time since injuring my shoulder late July.  The pain was minor and didn't phase me much at all so I continued on as if nothing had happened.  Meanwhile my mom’s voice cut through the sound of screaming band members,


”Be careful!  You already injured your shoulder and you don't want it hurt it more!” 


“I'll be fine.”  I called barely piercing the combustive sound band members.


Then I grabbed another ball and whipped it across the gym just barely missing Duncan; who is a sophomore in drumline; by a fraction of an inch. Immediately pain ripped through my shoulder causing immense pain as I heard a popping sound rise to my ears from my right shoulder.  I cringed and and grasped my shoulder as if attempting to draw my mind away from the pain.  I sank to the floor on the side of the court attempting to ease the pain.  Within a few minutes the pain subsided and I ran back onto the court to continue playing. I gripped a newly retrieved ball in my hand anxiously pondering what to do and what pain I could potentially cause myself if I wasn't careful.  I threw the ball and to my surprise it felt good and was as if I had a brand new shoulder!  In relief I took another ball and threw it harder, still no pain.  A small smile slowly crept across my face as I realized I had relocated or adjusted my shoulder.  I stood astonished at what had just happened and watch others throw the balls paying attention to every little detail because it seemed like forever since I had gone through the motion. 

 

From the way their arm moved to the path the ball took.  I watched one kid in particular and noticed that he threw the ball by slanting his arm sideways and he managed to get maximum speed and force.  I then had the “great” novel idea to throw the ball the same way, and my mind seemed to a draw a complete blank to the fact that there were other ways of throwing the ball.  Instead of getting the the perfect throw like I had expected, I shrieked in pain as the muscle in my shoulder felt as if it had been ripped out of its socket. I crumpled to the ground once more and stayed there for a few minutes. When I finally got the strength to stand back up I gripped my shoulder tightly protecting if from any harm that could come my way, while slowly walking off the court weaving between the scattered people. My was waiting on the sideline so the first thing I did was explain to my mom what had happened and I smirked a little as I spoke knowing exactly what my mom’s response was going to be. She just sat there and shook her head clearly expressing “I told you so” even though she didn't verbally say anything. 


I wandered over to the soothingly chilled bleachers and for the rest of the night I just watched the game from there not daring to step foot on the court.  I cheered on people who I knew, but all I could think about was how I should have just listened to my mom in the first place.  If I had, I never would have been in the predicament I was and it isn’t always worth it.




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