Friday, April 22, 2011

My First Kickball

(photographs mostly align with the story. but you get the idea.)

A few weeks ago, Willa went to a friend's birthday party in Tower Grove Park. One of the planned post-lunch activities was a game of kickball. So, when the time came, the players, all ranging in age from about 5 to 15, divided into teams; a few dads acted as fielders and coaches. I watched from the sideline, my eyes and fingers focused on taking photographs. When it was her turn, Willa walked up to home plate and looked to Eric, the dad of the birthday girls, for some guidance. Willa had never played kickball before (I'm not sure that she had even heard of the game!) so she needed a little help. So, Eric leans in and explains what she is supposed to do. Bill and I watch, anxiously (at least me), to see if Willa's foot would actually connect with the ball. And, luckily, it did! But, instead of running full steam ahead toward first base, she paused, like she didn't know what to do next. So, Bill stepped in and starts coaching and encouraging her. It was then that I realized, a little too late I might add, what was actually happening. One of the teen girls had fielded the ball and was standing between Willa and first base. Willa slowly ran toward her, I think, completely unaware of what the girl's internal choices were - 1. to throw Willa out, or 2. to give the little kid a break and get by her. The girl chose #1 and Willa got slammed with the ball on her arm. You should have seen the look on Willa's face! Hurt and surprise all wrapped up in one. I'm not sure how hard the girl actually threw the ball at Willa but I am certain about three things: 1. Willa was totally shocked by this (friendly?) act of violence, and 2. while Willa probably did get hurt but she reacted the way that she did because we didn't bother to tell her all the rules of the game, and 3. Willa won't ask to play that game for awhile.

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