This story would have been my contribution to Live Bait: Cross the Line, which took place on June 3rd, 2011.I’ve never been much of a gym guy. I would enjoy gym class when I was in school, so much so where I would get a decent grade. But usually the grade came from effort, not necessarily results. What comes to mind when I think of these classes is when we played a dodgeball-esque game. With me, it was quite literally hit-or-miss. I was never good at getting people out, so I never tried to. On a good day, I was very good at dodging. On a good, day, I was able to fake people out and stay alive, sometimes managing to get others back in. Many times I wasn’t even noticed by the opposing team. On a particular occasion, the second-to-last kid on my team was taken out, which caused a rush from the other side to switch the court. This was halted by the gym teacher’s whistle and a calmly delivered: “There’s one more.” Then people on my team suddenly knew who I was. They had to so they could say, “Ryan, get me back in!”
We played this style of game in grade school where we had one line in the middle of the court, and a bowling pin on either side. You had to stay on your side of the court, and of course the purpose was to get people out in a dodgeball-style fashion. If you hit the bowling pin on the other side, anyone on your team who was out is now back in.
We were playing this game once, and the other team was doing very well. It was essentially down to me and one other girl. We were both holding our own fairly well, but unfortunately neither of us were good offensively. With the way we each threw, someone was sure to catch our ball and, by traditional rules, get us out. So we had to get the bowling pin. No question about it. Soon enough, she was out and it was down to me.
While I may not be the best dodgeball player, I am a smart one. When you are on your own, the first thing you need to do is get all of the balls on your side. So I’m dodging everything they throw at me, all the while stock-piling the balls on my side. Luckily, I managed to get every ball. Now or never, I had to get that bowling pin.
I move as close to the line as I can, lining myself right up with that pin. There is one guy on the other team standing in front of the pin, determined that I will not hit it. He will either catch my ball, or he will take one for the team so that I’m still by myself. I only had one shot at this before I had to go back on the defensive. I did a maneuver that only works in grade school, and maybe in young adulthood. I did the infamous “Fake Throw”. This is when you have the ball, and you only pretend to throw the ball. So you move your arm in a throwing motion, but you don’t let the ball go. This guy literally dove out of the way as if it was a grenade coming at him. Once he cleared, I simply rolled the ball with as much accuracy as I could muster. The ball sort of rolled in slow motion, and I was surprised no one ran to stop it. They all just watched what it would do. What they watched was the balling ever-so-slightly nudging the pin, but enough to make it tip over.
I then heard two things: I heard a rush of kids run back over to my side, ecstatic that we now outnumbered the other side. I then heard the gym teacher, Mr. Almonte, yell “You’re out, Hanley!” My foot had just barely crossed the line in the middle, so I was out of bounds. Everyone else was still in, but I was out.
No one got me back in.