Being the fun teacher that I am, and it being a gorgeous, warm day, I said, “Let’s go outside!”
“Can’t we just shoot hoops instead?”
I put my foot down. They whined some more. I asked what they wanted to play (besides basketball). Capture the Flag was suggested and my decision was made.
“We’re going to play capture the flag! It’ll be so much fun.”
“Nooooooooo. Everyone always cheats.”
“Can’t we play basketball instead?”
Let me take a minute to describe what they mean by “playing basketball.” Most of the boys run around with the balls taking shots at the basket. One girl participates like a badass. Her sister uses trying to get the ball as an excuse to rub up against the boys. Two boys materialize a football which they throw across the gym, through the crowd. The rest of the girls make volleyballs appear out of nowhere which they hit against the wall, and the backflipper turns on the ball inflater and puts it in his mouth sucking in compressed air until he turns purple. I tried for three days to get them to do the drills that their teacher assigned; four people participated, one girl suddenly had a back problem, one girl told me that she had to practice volleyball for tryouts (it’s an all-inclusive intramural activity) and one girl couldn’t participate because she had to play basketball in two days???? The rest of the class threw balls at each other’s heads.
So, no basketball today.
If class in the gym was a freeforall, class outside was simply, a total shitshow.
To begin with, I don’t even know how to play capture the flag so I had to ask someone to give me the basics.
“H and T are captains – they’ll choose teams.”
“Nooooooooooooo. Can I be captain?
“Can I be captain?”
“Let me be captain?”
“They can’t be captains.”
“Can I go help with the gardening class? I don’t want to play with these guys.”
Honey, I hear ya.
“Go dig in the dirt.”
So they wear these belt-thingies, red or yellow, that opponents grab – it’s like tagging someone. The belts pop off and the person goes to jail.
The boy-crazy girl who was late because she and her mother got called into the principal’s office put hers around her neck so that anyone trying to tag her would have to grab at her boobs.
That wasn’t going to work for me. But apparently, it didn’t work as a fashion accessory around her waist for her because she spent most of the class standing behind the goal line adjusting it, trying to get it to sit low on her hips.
Everyone cheated. The Volleyball girls intentionally got caught so that they could hang out in jail, indefinitely, flipping around their dirty blond, hot ironed hair.
Just about every girl in the school has the exact same hair and they all walk around with their heads tilted slightly to the side to sort of keep it out of their eyes. As a wise old woman, all I can think is, “Doesn’t your neck hurt?”
Somehow or another, after 15 minutes of play, half of the red boys had managed to switch out their colors so that the yellow team almost double in size. Combined with the hair girls in jail, that left just 3 kids on the yellow team.
“Come back. We need to redo the teams.”
“Can I be captain? Can I be captain? Can I be captain? Can I be captain? Can I be captain?”
All from the same kid.
“Dude, if the answer is no on the first try, it’s definitely going to be no on the fifth. Quit asking.”
“Can we just shoot hoops?”
“Do ya see a court out here?”
My attempts to reboot the game failed.
It was so fucked up.
Finally, I snapped.
They found themselves isolated, on their asses, silent, and not allowed to move a finger, spread out over the 50 yards of the field.
“Can I go to the bathroom?”
“What, you can’t tell me that I can’t go.”
“I really have to go – it’s an emergency.”
“You should have thought of that before you started throwing snowballs at everyone.”
“I’m going to tell the principal.”
“I’M going to tell the principal. Who do you think he’s going to believe?”
“Can we play basketball?”
“Take the cone off your head. Quit slapping your jacket against the fence. Give me your phone.”
Finally, class was almost over. The garden teacher offered up one solution – she always needs help weeding. Hell yeah.
“You swore at us.”
“Uh, no. I did not.”
“Yes you did and we’re going to tell the principal.”
Right about now I’m wondering why anyone in their right mind would ever chose to be a school principal.
“I didn’t swear and I know that because I really wanted to and consciously refrained. Now for God’s sake, GO.”
Later, after fantasizing about drinking on the job, one of the only slightly squirrely boys, not even a goody-goody, found me to let me know that he had already written up the class and turned in the list.
Thus validating my agony.