Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coach Mitchell for a Day

Even though I am not at all athletically inclined and would never endeavor to be a physical education teacher,  I happily got to assist the P.E. teacher by watching his classes while he set up for the end-of-the-year play day.

I say happily because some of the students called me Coach Mitchell for the day. Coach Mitchell? HAHAHAHA!!

That is hilarious because I have never coached anything in my entire life. I am much too prissy and my nails far too manicured to rough around in the sporting arena. So, for some to call me Coach Mitchell, it was my own little private joke, like I was parading around in a policeman's uniform, all the power to arrest, without any of the training.

The kids were playing dodge frisby dodge ball.

When I was in grade school, I remember playing real dodgeball (boys vs. girls) in the school gymnasium with fat red rubber balls. I HATED dodgeball.

Mostly because I was slow and completely inept at throwing, I couldn't a giant fixed target, let alone a moving one....but also because I hated the way that the boys looked when they viciously slammed the ball into my back or legs with a triumphant SLAP. I really hated how excited that they boys got when shouted, "You're OUT!!" It was so embarrassing.

I hated that feeling of helplessness.
I was too uncoordinated to ever grab hold of a ball and return the brutal blow, so mostly I just tried to hide behind the bigger girls or hunch against the wall.

No matter what I did, I was an easy target....I was pathetic prey and I always resented the other students and everything about physical education because of how it made me feel like such a loser. AND who am I kidding, those red rubber balls really hurt when they hit.

 Equipment for p.e. has come a long way. Now days, those red rubber balls do not exist, at least not for dodge ball. Students use NERF-Like baby blue foam balls that gently bounce off of you like an air-filled throw pillow.

It is nearly impossible to cause injury, even when connecting with a kid's face.

Additionally, foam frisbys were added to the basic game (a great idea for giving kids practice at correctly throwing a frisby).  The frisbys create even less of an impact when they connect.

 The best part about supervising 4th graders playing frisby dodge ball, was actually joining them for a little game of GIRLS+TEACHER VS. BOYS. They boys were delighted that I was helping the girls gang up on them because it made them more competitive than ever.

You see, the boys have played against the girls all year with a horrible chant, "Moo like a cow, go moo, MOO!" Over and over the boys screamed their little chant at the girls as they attacked them with dodge balls screaming "You're OUT" and scooping up new bullets and launching over and over.

I was delighted to help the girls because I got a little bit of payback.
I cannot tell you how extremely rewarding it was to pelt the strongest, most athletic boys in the class. I didn't want to hurt them. I just wanted to get them OUT!

And that is just what I did.

Screaming, 'You're OUT!' felt just as good as I thought it would, even though I'm not 10 anymore, I got that real satisfied feeling that one only gets by conquering an old foe.

 I even made up our own little chant, the girls and I screaming "Ruff like a dog go ruff, RUFF!"

I had all the girls saying it with me, I rallied an attack, hoarding all of the balls and frisbys on our side, we savagely assaulted the boys with baby blue bombs. (Okay, maybe not savagely, I was surrounded by a bunch of tiny-10-year old wimpy little mini-mes who were just as pathetically slow, and inept at throwing, we missed more targets than we hit. But I was their leader and it was exhilarating).

I didn't enter the game with sadistic intent, in fact, I had forgotten how much I hated dodge ball until I actually got out on the court and started tossing frisbys and feeling that winning feeling. Students love it when teachers join in and have a little fun.  The boys, I assure you, won't be traumatized by little victory, they probably won't even remember it once the summer is in full swing, but it is one of my favorite memories and I will treasure it.....the day that I got to be Coach Mitchell.

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