Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kickball and Sorels

Being born in the fall means either starting kindergarten having just turned five or just turned six and my parents chose the latter. Being older than my classmates combined with my genetic code that said I was tall, I was like most tall and gangly kids, not very athletic. Thus I was usually near the last picked for the recess kickball games. But I didn't mind because I enjoyed the game just the same. Besides the unathletic issue, another sore spot were the huge rubber sorels my mother made me wear in cold weather. They were bulky and certainly not geared towards running so when morning recess came, I went from near the last to dead last when being chosen for teams.

Our team lost the flip and was outfield first and the sorels lived up to expectations by causing me to be slow in retrieving the ball. When we finally got our three outs, I knew without a word that I was going to be the bottom of the lineup so my turn to kick didn't come until late during the recess period in the third inning. The ball was rolled and I kicked it squarely with the hard-rubberized toe of the sorel on my right foot. The ball took off like a rocket, soaring way over the heads of the outfielders that had cheated up on their positions when it was my turn to kick. The ball finally started on a downward trajectory and gave one bounce before disappearing over the hill where it rolled clear to the bottom and into the yard of a house across the street well over a hundred and fifty yards from home plate. Despite my slow lurching gate caused by the heavy boots, I had more than enough time to circle the bases and complete a homerun before the ball was retrieved.

Since we usually kept the same teams for the rest of the day so when my turn came at lunch, everyone was excited to see a repeat performers. The outfielders now cheated backwards, tried in vain to cover the gap that the ball headed for but narrowly missed it and I had my second home run. At afternoon recess, it was clear that I wasn't going to get another turn before the bell rang so a couple of my teammates disappeared before it was their turn to kick so that I had to move up in the batting order to fill in. The third time, the first, second and third base players were also dropping back in the deep outfield in an attempt to stop my then becoming inevitable homerun. The ball was rolled and I misfired kicking the ball so it went sailing down the third base line before slicing hard to the left and out-of-bounds. I ran like I never ran before and due to an overthrow at third base, I was still able to get my third and final homerun of the day.

I would like to say I was picked higher up in the pecking order from then on but sadly that wasn't the case. Others started bring one sorel from home to use as a kicking boot, putting it on unlaced only when their turn was to kick. As their foots momentum carried forward after the ball had been kick, the boot would go flying allowing them to run with one tennis shoe on one foot and just a sock on the other. Eventually we got tired of chasing the balls and having huge scoring games that we decide to either ban the use of sorels or lengthen the bases. The former one out and I had to bring a separate pair of tennis shoes to school if I wanted to play. Of course, I was still near the last to be picked.

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