Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Them Boots Were Made For Kicking

Inevitably, I was one of the last ones to be picked for the kickball game at recess. Standing a full foot taller than most of my classmate due to a large growth spurt, I was tall, gangly and not very coordinated. I could do well fielding the ball but I could never seem to kick it out of the infield and very rarely made it to first base without getting nailed with the ball and thus getting "out." Today was no exception. It was a cold, muddy day and despite all the snow having melted the day before, my mom had forced me to wear my big sorrel boots to school to keep my feet warm. They did that job well but with the heavy weights at the end of very long and very thin legs, made me very slow.

Our team was in the outfield first and due to my drastically reduced speed, several balls that I normally would have caught or at least stopped got past allowing the other team to score much to the displeasure of my teammates. Our team seemed to be kicking line drives or floaters that were easily caught and so it was deep into the third inning before my turn to be "at bat" had arrived. The pitched sent the ball rolling towards me and I started churning my weighted down legs as I ran towards the plate and the point of impact with the ball. The speed of my kick was slow to say the least but what I later learned as the physics law of momentum took over and the toe of my large sorrel boot planted firmly into the side of the ball sending it streaking into the outfield and over the heads of the opposing team.

I slogged around first as I watched the ball roll and disappear over the far hill and out of sight. I rounded second and looked back as I made my way towards third seeing one of the other team chasing the ball across the street. Never in the sport of kickball at our grade school had someone kicked the ball over the hill much less the street at the bottom of it. As I rounded third and headed for home, I could hear the unmistakable sound of a soccer ball thudding on the ground somewhere in the vicinity of second base but as momentum helped me launch the ball, it helped my feet continue pounding along the worn path between the bases and across home plate which I stomped on loudly as I sailed past and into the throng of my cheering teammates. Home run!

Although I was never picked first and whenever the weather was nice out and I wore my tennis shoes to school, I was still picked last, the kids kept an eye out on days with nasty cold weather. If they saw me rounding the building corner at recess and making my way out to the kickball diamond with my giant sorrels on, I got picked third or fourth from last instead of dead last. It was an improvement and I took it happily.

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