September 6th…“DURING YOUR YOUNG DAYS, IN MINNESOTA, DID YOU EVER PLAY A GAME AT RECESS CALLED KICKBALL?”
I’ll bet you didn’t know I was a valedictorian…..wellll, I was!!! At least when it came to recess. 😉 I was always at “the head of my class” when it came to rocketing down those vast, double-decked stairs and bursting through the doors that led out to the playground and RECESS at our Grade School in Kiester, Minnesota. Even the crows in the trees, that surrounded the playground, were “CAW”lling me out to have fun and take part in our ever-perennial game of KICKBALL!!!
Recess was the one subject in school where I was an “A” student! And I’ll bet you can guess what my Grade Point average was in that fun subject, ya? It was a 4 point “OHHHH boy, let’s play!”
The most popular game during recess, back in my day, was Kickball. The game parallels baseball, only instead of a bat and a tiny ball, a person kicks a soccer or rubber ball and then runs the bases for a team point. After the Winter snows had melted, Spring was warmly upon us once again. The sparkling sunshine of those days empowered us with even more energy than kids our age already had coursing through our young veins. The two “Captains” of the day had the rest of us conglomerate ourselves together as we lined up in front of them. In succession, each “Captain” chose his respective team and we were then up for the day’s happy combat of Kickball. Our teams were dominantly boys. Girls either didn’t care to play, or we discouraged them from doing so for the sake of their woosy girly kicking attempts. In retaliation, the poor girls scorned from our game would either stick their tongues out at us and stomp off to play with their girly friends….OR, some of the gals would become cheerleaders along the sidelines of our play area.
It was the author, Oscar Wilde, who said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. That quote tied in well with our mini-cheerleaders. I can just see Lynn, Julie, Lori, Janet and other girls on the sidelines of our game each day as they imitated the “grown up” High School Bulldog Cheerleaders like my sister, Rosemary and her other “A Team” Squad that they’d seen cheering at football, basketball and other school functions of our town. Standing in the outfield, I couldn’t help but smile as I’d see my wannabe girl classmates leap in the air and scream……
“Doug can do it, Yes he can, If Doug can’t do it, Then Elliott can!!” Their squeaky little girl voices would be cracking at the explosive decibels of their cheer!!
Our class was predominantly made up of farm families, therefore, most of us boys came to school in our heavy-duty leather work boots that were laced up to at least the ankle or mid-calf area. So, when the game began, we all had the notion to boot that ball into the next county! One of my classmates was Doug Trytten. He was blessed with the height, muscle and build of his daddy and was a powerhouse of a player to reckon with. I can still see the Pitcher turn to us in the outfield and yell, “BACK UP!!! Doug’s up to plate!!” We knew Doug’s legs were pure dynamite when it came to kicking that ball, so we DID back up in anticipation of an “outta the park” ball. The Pitcher bends over and lobs the ball to the ground. A few little dribbles in direction of the Home Plate while Doug “cocks that rifle” of his mighty leg and “ChaPOING!!!!” that ball almost goes into orbit while the tiny cheerleaders on the sidelines go berserk with prepubescent squeals of joy for their hunk of a hero as Doug lobs along the bases while us guys in the outer limits of the playground try to retrieve his “rubber meteor” and get it back to Home Plate.
I’m so glad that I enjoyed childhood in the BVG (Before Video Games) Generation!!! It wasn’t just our thumbs that got exercise, but our entire bodies and BOY was it ever fun for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!