No big deal. I got this.
What possibly could go wrong? They’re just kids. Little kids at that.
OK, so there were a bunch of them. And maybe it was over 80 degrees. And there was going to be some light physical activity.
Fine. Bring it on. Let’s do this.
Besides, I’m an adult. A grown-up.
Uh-huh. Yeah, right.
On Friday morning, I joined my lovely wife at our daughter’s elementary school to help out with field day. You remember field day. Bag races. Limbo. Basketball. Soccer. Stuff outside, with no worksheets or books to be found. I loved field day in school.
With 16 stations surrounding the playground and back parking lot area, there were enough activities to keep the kids busy as they rotated with their respective classes for three hours.
My wife and I ran one of the stations, setting up two sets of four bowling pins about 30 feet apart with a dividing line in the middle of the playing area. With one team on each side of the line and about 15 spongy, foam balls, on the command of “Go!” the kids were to throw the balls, each about the size of a cantaloupe, and try to knock down the other team’s pins.
You following? Don’t worry, because I wasn’t, either.
Instead, I was chasing.
And having a blast.
Basically, when my wife and I got the game in gear, it meant about 10 kids to a side wildly throwing balls in the direction of the other team’s pins, trying to knock them all down before the opposing team did the same.
Thinking ahead (it may be the last time), I stood behind the team of kids on my side. I figured I would keep any of the balls that got past the kids from getting too far away from the game. Maybe even retrieve a few of them should they get past me.
Upon our first “Go!” I realized my wife and I were in dire straits. The barrage came at us like a firing squad of large, wobbling foam bullets. There were balls coming from everywhere, some rolling, some bouncing, some whipping past from the burgeoning Nolan Ryans in the crowd.
And so I high-tailed it. Took off after the balls that got past the line of kids and pins, catching some, grabbing others, crouching down like a shortstop making a backhanded play in the hole for most of them. Making the play, I could turn and fire the ball back into play, not that much unlike the weak-hitting middle infielder I once was.
Gotta say, I kinda liked that.
Before too long, though, maybe after the second or third class rolled into our station (each class got in about two games per rotation, which was about 10-to-12 minutes), I felt something I never felt when I had cleats on my feet and my beat-up Rawlings on my left hand.
Bounding after one purple cantaloupe, I took the perfect angle and knelt to make my patented backhand, for a moment considering to what degree of fool I would look like if I tried the scoop, hop-in-the-air and throw motion, a la Derek Jeter. Might’ve been worth a chuckle from my wife, which would’ve more than satisfied me.
I never got that far.
I did get to the ball, though, and knelt — and felt a twinge go through my hamstring, followed by a popping sensation that led to a tightening ball of something in said hamstring. It was at this point where I immediately reached a new low — coming to the stark realization that I probably needed to stretch before K-2 Field Day.
At least there were only 13 or so more classes that needed to go through our station.
I pressed on, basically because it was so much fun and, well, after the other hamstring popped a few moments later, I knew I wasn’t going to get any worse. Continuing to run, chase and crouch kept my atrophied leg muscles warm and loose enough, and besides, nobody wants to admit they got hurt at Field Day.
Especially at 33 years old.
As for admitting hurting after Field Day, well, let’s just say that the dog barked Saturday morning because it took me so long to get to the door to let him out.
That said, I’m looking forward to next year, where I kinda hope I get assigned the same station.
As you can tell, I need the workout.
Now excuse me while I go ice my shoulder.