A Double Victory

I was subbing for a P.E. aide at an elementary school. It is the only school I’ve been at that has a tether ball set. I had not played tether ball since I was in maybe elementary school. If so, it’s been, more or less, a half-dollar in years.

Tether ball was one of the few games I had some potential at playing.  P.E. was NOT my favorite subject. A lack of coordination didn’t help. I could roller or iceskate ONLY in my dreams. I did learn how to ride a bike, but like Rome wasn’t built in a day, I didn’t learn to bike in one day or two, etc. I did okay at batting a baseball, but I was terrible in the outfield. I just knew when rubber met wood, the ball would come flying straight towards me and I’d be frozen in a panic.

Eyeing the tether ball set, I wanted soooooooooo much to play the game again, but tether isn’t a “solo” game but a “duet”. I really like playing games, but I just don’t want to play with other people. That’s all.  Back when I was the P.E. student, no one wanted to play with me either since I was so good at being the last one over the finish line.

During the time the 5th graders came in for P.E., some of them were lined up to play tether ball. I wanted to play just a round and even though I was one of two adults (the other being the coach) in the room, I was afraid to ask.

Now having been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger’s) and with the help of medication, I now sometimes act against my “aspie” nature and do the opposite. I did this time by asking the 5th graders if I could play a round. What were they gonna say “NO”???? I knew on one hand they wouldn’t say no, but that didn’t keep it from being hard to ask.

You may have heard of a game, “Do You Know More Than a 5th Grader?”. I think there was a TV game show with that title. Anyway, I thought of that title when I played tether with the 5th grade boy. I don’t know if I know as much as the 5th grader, but I beat the 5th grader at tether ball!

The students asked me if I wanted to play another round with another player but I said “Oh, no thanks”.  I bowed out gracefully. I didn’t want to risk another round and suffer defeat which would have poured cold water on my victory! Instead, I walked away and SAVORED in my victory.

I told the young coach and he said, “You must still have it then”…”it” being the knack for tether. I reckon I still do.

It was a double victory. I was so tickled I beat the 5th grader, but more than that of my asking to play. The “asking” is so hard, so very hard for me.   I did it that time and had some fun. The fun I seldom had in my younger days.

Having had that victory, I was encouraged to take another step. I’ll be starting off 2017 with a tennis racket and a few tennis balls I got myself for Christmas. I went to the place where I used to hit balls against the wall at a nearby community college. I had not been there in like 30 years. I tell you what … I still got “IT”!!!

My resolution is to visit this place frequently in 2017. I want my racket and I to become close pals.  Now I don’t mean playing tennis in a two or foursome. Oh, no, not me. I dig the sound of “solo”. I am perfectly content to it just being me, my racket and ball, and the wall.


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