On labor day my family was invited to participate in a Kick Ball tournament with a large group of friends. There were 6 different teams and at least 10 per team. It was perfectly designed so I did not have to participate with my family, but got to compete against them. This made the games that much more fun - nothing like talking smack to your 11 year old - who subsequently beats your team 18-3!
The rules were designed to protect the young, preventing any ‘big’ from throwing the ball at any ‘small’ ( defined as 2nd grade or less ) Nevertheless, the only injuries were sustained by three ‘bigs’ who pulled this muscle, tweaked that muscle, or fell face first while running after a fly ball. The games were quintessential ‘weekend warrior’ showcases of youth, athleticism and over estimation of our middle-aged abilities.
My team was not very good, the aforementioned beat down plus another gripping 6-3 loss, cemented our position as the bottom feeder of the 6 teams. There would be no championship game for us. However, what I witnessed while playing gave me hope about the younger generations, and ultimately made us all winners - regardless of the score board results.
You see, on my team we had a mom and her daughter - who is a sweet 9 year old girl with special needs. The rules were laid out that no-one was to throw the ball at her, regardless of her age or grade. And that was where the ‘special rules’ instructions had stopped, nothing else was said to any of the participants regarding any other special treatment for this little girl. What I witnessed was so far from these rules it simply blew my mind.
Early in the first game the little girl mustered the courage to step up to the plate and kick the ball. She missed a few times, fouled it off once or twice, and finally connected with a slower roller directly to first base. With a little encouragement she was off to the races, bowling her way down the base line. It was to be an easy out for the other team, regardless of who was kicking the ball. But somehow the 11 year old boy standing on first dropped the ball. SAFE at first was the call!
Later in the second game, a similar situation set up in the third inning. After a few tries she connected with a shot toward third base. The ball was fielded and thrown to first base for another seemingly easy out. However, another young boy mishandled the ball at first and she was safe again!
Had this been an official baseball game, both of these plays would have been scored as ERRORS on the first baseman - but in the game of life, these boys did anything but make an error. They made decisions that brightened the day for a little girl and gave me hope that maybe this upcoming generation aren’t all the little shits that they can so often be.