Take One For the Team

Middle school teachers are a rare breed. We enjoy adolescents. We want to teach children who are at the most confusing and significant point in their childhood. We also are fiercely competitive though many of us have never won any awards for athletic greatness. This past weekend my school fielded two softball teams in a charity tournament to help one of our former students who has leukemia. We were not without casualties. The field was wet. It had rained the night before, but only a couple of the teachers actually owned cleats. In fact, rounding up enough softballs and gloves for us to play was quite a challenge. And the girl who put our teams together and gathered all the necessary equipment was the first to fall. While racing after a beautiful pop fly near the back fence she went into a tumble that resulted in a nasty broken wrist. Thank goodness the team we were playing was the FIRE DEPARTMENT, so she had immediate assistance. They immobilized the arm, got her to the cart and did their best to ensure she was in as little pain as possible. She was in terrible pain, by the way. But that didn’t stop the game. The firemen and women were whipping us by over ten runs when one of our guys decided that he was making it to home plate no matter what. He did an NFL-style flip over the guy holding out the ball to tag him and landed on his face. And then on his back. And was tagged out anyway. He continued to play, but I think he was the most happy when our third game was rained out. Because our final game was rained out, we decided to donate blood. I had never donated platelets before, and I probably won’t again. After 45 minutes of tasting a foul aluminum bitterness I wanted to toss my cookies. But I didn’t want them to think I was weak and needed to stop, so I just counted down the minutes until they would unhook me. I felt puny the rest of the day. The moral of the story is: just because you work with kids doesn’t mean you bounce back like one. We all did our best to contribute, but next time I think I’ll stick to donating snacks to the concession stand.

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