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Battle at the Playground

I couldn't have been any older than 7 or 8 years old during this story...



I also couldn't tell you what made me so upset on this particular day of my childhood...



A group of friends and I were enjoying a regular day of elementary school, when out of nowhere we were engaged in a full out verbal altercation. 



Once again, I have no idea what the argument was about and am certain that it was not as hostile as I am detailing, but I was angry nonetheless.



Just like all grade-school battles, this was going to be settled on the blacktop.



Whether it was a foot race, swinging contest, or football games...whenever an issue reared its ugly head, playground was the answer.



We reached the playground and our battle of choice was basketball.  Surprise, surprise...



I figured that I had an advantage in basketball for some odd reason, but let me detail the disadvantages I had so you can truly understand this poor decision...



For starters...I did not hit a true growth spurt until roughly freshmen year of high school...I was much shorter than my contemporaries.



I also did not reach a point in my life where I could reach even the bottom of the net with a basketball if I had kicked it with all my strength...



Since you are not allowed to kick a basketball, chances are I was not going to score any points throughout this entire game.



I could dribble the ball pretty well (relatively speaking) and loved to pass, but pride had gotten the best of me and I had challenged my entire group of friends...



Yes.



Me against all of my friends.



See why I called this a poor decision?



Now I would be wrong if I didn't mention the generosity of my friends.  They offered apologies, offered to play on my team, and even offered to end the game before it  started...



I wasn't hearing it.  My pride had completely clouded my vision.



I even remember one of my friends taking me to the side and quietly saying "Richie...you can't really reach the rim though...".



I appreciate you for that honesty, but that didn't work either.  My mind was set and because of that I proceeded to compete in the most one-sided basketball game I had ever been in.



Wait...let me rephrase...



I proceeded to lose the most one-sided basketball game I had ever been in.



As the game concluded, my friends didn't even brag or boast...I think they realized there wasn't really any need too...



We were then summoned to our classroom lines, single file, and prepared to head back inside.  We finished the day as friends, and moved forward with our lives as usual.



Aside from this group of friends being so gracious in victory, I can't help but think about just how ridiculous this game must have looked.  I wish I could travel back in time to watch all of this transpire.



As I watched, I would wait patiently for the younger me to shoot a weak shot, grab it out of the air, look the younger me directly in the eyes and say calmly "It's going to be okay buddy...you don't need to beat all 20 of them by yourself".



I would give the ball back to the kids, but only after I bored them with a lesson...



There are complications in the world that are out of our control.  Adding more complications only makes things more confusing.  At the end of the day, what does playing 1 versus 20 really prove?  I would tell the younger me that no one really cares if he wins or loses this particular game.  The win would pass in time, and the loss would be expected.



Rather then trying to prove a meaningless point, enjoy the 30 minutes of playground you get because you will regret it if you don't when you are back in the classroom...



And you will regret it even more much later in life when playground is no longer an option all together.



I would tell those friends that I appreciate their efforts to try and stop this nonsense.  Sometimes people just have to experience certain challenges on their own before they understand.



I would tell them that letting the young me try to win, but still being there for him after the inevitable blowout took place was mature and beneficial for both the young me and all of them as well.



Once I saw the young kids losing attention, and tuning me out...I'd tell them to just have fun, pass the ball back, and at this moment, I am sure that the bell to go back inside would ring.



They would all have to stop their game, and at this point, I am certain that I would be the enemy to all of them for cutting their playground short...



At least they would be on the same team this time.



I would hop back into that time machine, and proceed to type out the entire scenario for generations to come.



I hope they all see this, and I hope that it is still helpful.



Until next time,


Long Live The People

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