"I rounded first, never thought of the worst as I studied the shortstop's position."
If you are familiar with the works of Jimmy Buffett, then you know that what happens shortly after that is our narrator's leg snaps "like the shell of an egg." I am fortunate that this is not precisely what happened to yours truly as I attempted to play kickball with a group of second graders last week. No fractures. All my bones intact. My pride and standing in the community a little shaken, and a great big raspberry on my left knee.
The title of that song by Jimmy Buffett? "Growing Older But Not Up."
For the record, I had given the soccer ball that we were playing with enough of a ride that even after I picked myself up off the ground and limped on around the bases that I still managed to score a home run. It also helped that a number of the kids initially rushed to my aid, diminishing their fielding options by that same number.
Yes, it did occur to me that I could just lay there for a moment and let their concern wash over me. This was one of those humanizing moments that don't come up too often in an elementary school. Just like the way students struggle to comprehend that I have a wife and a son, that I go to movies, that I have played a video game, they don't know precisely how to react when their teacher falls down.
One little girl asked if I needed a band-aid. That's when I lifted up my pants leg to inspect the wound. The asphalt had done its work, and though it wasn't the bloody mess that some of them had anticipated, there was still a little gasp as they huddled around home base, wondering what might happen next. Did this mean there would be no more PE for the day?
It would take more than this scrape to keep Mister Caven down. I made a brief check of the rest of my systems to see if the rest of me was online. Glasses, cell phone, whistle, keys. Roger, ready and raring to go once again. Increasing my legend just a little bit in the eyes of my young charges, but making the next few days a little more challenging as I negotiated the rubbed raw portion of my leg through my routines.
When the third graders came out, I let them kick the ball. I coached. I'm old.