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Tricia’s Place: The last one chosen

Do you remember physical education in school?

In my day a student either took physical education or tried out for the school band – one or the other. I chose physical education, not that I was athletic, but given one or the other,  I thought I would much rather try physical education, as I could probably hide out somewhere, and not be forced to exercise every time…or so I thought.   

At my school there was a uniform required for physical education; blue, prissy “blooming” shorts and a gold polo shirt, complete with high topped, lace-up tennis shoes.

To say I was not a beauty in this outfit was being polite.

We began with basic calisthenics. I could stretch, pull, heave-and-ho with the best. This lasted about 15 minutes,  then we went outside for a soft ball game.

Two team leaders were chosen by the coach, then each team leader would choose the folks they wanted on their team.

I stood towards the back of the group, hiding in plain sight, and listened to the names of the girls being called out, never hearing my name called.

It was mortifying!

After the first leader had selected her members, the second team leader started picking  people for her team.  It had now gotten down to the last two people, me and another poor girl. The team leader, anxiously searching for a player other than the two of us, turned around and looked behind her, and all around the area…but to no avail.

She said, “well uh, I guess, I’ll pick…Hinson.”

She’d picked me and my heart sank. The other person got to sit the game out! I envied her.

My team leader had thought this over and decided she could put me  in the Outfield.

Where do you think most of the hit balls went?

No – not over the fence, but to the outfield, where I stood, hand in glove, glove open, and held high, ready to catch the ball – which fell right into my glove!

The other team members yelled and screamed their delight, at my good fortune.

Did I mention that I have really small hands? The glove was not a good fit for me and while I was being cheered on, the ball, gracefully, tumbled from my glove and onto the ground.

I sucked in my breath while all the cheers turned into dead, icy, silence. A thousand eyes staring at me!

They thought I had done it deliberately.

The coach called time and my physical education class was over. I was saturated with sweat, my head was pounding.

The coach patted me on the shoulder as he went by.

Do you see how something can happen to a child, and traumatize her for life? Even now, as an adult, I hate all ball games. I don’t want to go anywhere to play or see them.

“How can you be an American and hate ball games?” I’ve been asked. “It simply isn’t done!”

Everyone, be safe, take care of one another.