Some call it Air Mail, others call it Send and Receive, but I come from a subtler, nobler stock. I kick the ball, and you better be darn sure that I'm going to catch it when you kick it back.

                Today's the day, the day I've waited my 8 years of life for. It's the Kick and Catch playoff championship semifinal battle royale explosion. I've come far in my days as a Kick and Catch warrior. I fought off the stings of misplayed balls and the sting of Greg Saunders's insults when he called me a scab eating booger brains after I beat him. I never should have taken on the most popular kid in the third grade, but now that I've come this far, it's rubber playground balls to the wall. I've survived the pain of jammed fingers and the pain of awkward growth spurts.  I've survived humiliating losses and the humiliation of having the extra pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles underwear that my mom packed for me falling out through a hole in my back pack. Not really Kick and Catch related, but embarrassing nonetheless.

                But, I've finally made it here, after my greatest setback to date: I got a check minus minus on my language arts quiz, and I was given the opportunity to stay in at recess and retake the test, but I wouldn't miss this match if my butthead teacher, Mrs. Arnold, threatened to steal my Pokémon cards, and I swear to you I have all the holograms. After all, so what if I don't know how to form the letter "s" in cursive? All I want to do is kick. And catch. And dance. But that's a story for another day. 

               

I sit here, in social studies, knowing that in less than 5 minutes I'll be given the opportunity to run onto that asphalt battlefield, onto that blacktop coliseum to face Jimmy "Kick your butt all the way to Pizza Hut" Dickinson, in what is sure to be an epic match. I know full well this will be my last hurrah, my farewell tour. Upon reaching the 4 grade the draft occurs and I will undoubtedly join the ranks of the Kickballers, the 4-squarers, or, God save me, the Dodgeballers.  

Until that day, I must defend my honor as a playground gladiator. I'm the King of Kick and I wear the crown of Catch. I'm the sultan of the swing set, and the tsar of the monkey bars. I wear the heavyweight title of the world for my exploits in this arena. I own this.


3 days later at a parent teacher conference:

Mrs. Arnold: Your son was given the opportunity to retake a test, and instead chose recess. He now has an "N" in my class, which as you know means "not Satisfactory."

Mom to me: You're grounded. No dessert.

Me: What the heck, Mrs. Arnold? What the heck?