Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Part One: This Isn't What I Was Going To Say

This year I'm Vice-Administrative Officer for a Children's Group that is connected to our Neighborhood Community Association which is also somehow tied to the PTA. Don't ask me. I just attend meetings and try not to get in the way.

Every summer all the elementary kids in the entire city participate in a game called Medicine Ball. Each Children's Group is a team, or two teams depending on the number of kids in the group. We have forty kids in ours. Two teams. A and B.

There are tournaments and the winners move up and up until eventually the fastest Medicine Ball team in our city is determined. I believe they receive some trophy or certificate. Believe me when I say, we've never gotten that far.

What is Medicine Ball? It is simple and has absolutely nothing to do with a medicine ball as you and I know it. Something more like a volleyball is used. Here is a brief description:

Twenty kids in a straight line.

This is what twenty kids in a straight line looks like after thirty minutes of coaxing. The wee little kid sitting off by himself is crying. But don't worry he's done his fair share of making other kids cry. He made one of the mothers cry our second day of practice.

A long set of rules made short: first person grabs ball, runs to head of line, ball is passed up, down, up, down, up, down...all the way to the back. Run to the front, up, down, up, down, up, down, repeat until the first person is last and runs with ball across finish line. Oh also, your butt can't touch the ground.

I was seriously worried I'd have a nervous breakdown doing this. There were four mothers altogether and remember, forty kids.

It turns out, I had a blast. At least so far. Our first tourney is this weekend. It's like a combination of The Bad News Bears meets Seven Samurai. These kids are nuts.

Just a few examples: one kid found a shattered bottle and began stuffing his pockets full of broken glass, two boys climbed a tree and proceeded to pee from it (a distance contest, I presume), some soccer boys kept putting their soccer ball into the window of some old woman's house and then hiding whenever she came out to see what had happened. We're talking sand throwing wars between team A and team B that escalated to dirt clod and then rock throwing wars. Oh, and how about my favorite child (we've had run ins before), the boy who walked around the whole time collecting various beetles from trees, filling his pockets and them bringing them over to me and sticking them under my nose and saying, What do you think this bug is called? [Note: no matter how terrified you are, always act calm and cool when a child shoves a giant bug under your nose. If you show fear they'll chase you and eventually toss it into your hair when you aren't looking.] After he tired of that he asked if I thought they could fly and then began throwing the poor creatures as far as he could into the air as he could. In reality he only tossed one that was an obvious non-flyer. I persuaded him to empty his pockets and return to the line. There was also the one child who found a long length of rusty wire and became a tetanus-inducing helicopter for a few minutes.

Now, don't think us moms aren't yelling. Oh, we're yelling.

Here's a conversation I had with one astute boy, the third day of practice:

Him: So, I just noticed. Are you trying to tell me your a foreigner?

Me: Um, yes.

Him: Okay, so you know all about the roba then? (note: roba means donkey in Japanese).

Me: Um, huh?

Him: You know (winks), the donkey?

I stare bug-eyes as he walks away.

The below pictures is what happens when you turn your back for a second. Torturing a first grader. Typical.

Eventually, we get two practices in. No major injuries or deaths. One of the mothers left early and came back with Popsicles. Below is the picture of everyone playing 'paper, stone, scissors' to see who gets the extra Popsicles. I asked her if she injected the Ritalin. She said, What?

After practice some boys discover a couple of bases laying around -- bases like you use for a baseball game. They've been dug up and just kinda lay there. They looked really, really old. Suddenly they become punching bags, kicking bags. The conversation goes something like:

Mom: Hey, I wouldn't piss off those bases if I were you.

Boys: Why?

Mom: Well, you know.

Me: Oh, I know! I know!

Boys: What are you two talking about?! (punch, punch, kick!)

And THAT is what I was going to post about. But now it's gonna be Part Two.

~to be continued~