In Kindergarten, real education began the instant our teacher let us out into the wet, cold Washington fall, our jackets providing armor against the elements of nature but not against the elements of childhood. The ball would drop and we would dash forward in mad hope. Reaching. Straining. No! Like ants escaping a drop of water we scattered away. Fleeing a fate worse than death… being out.
There is a form of dodge ball that kindergartners play that is like king-of-the-hill. Instead of being tossed down the hill however, the hill is thrown at you. One could avoid getting hit by the ball and thus being made out by either catching the ball, or evading the ball. The latter always led to a mad scramble of legs and arms and fists and teeth heading straight for the ball. One by one, kids are knocked out of the game until a winner emerges.
Now I’m not sure how things work now, what with all of the focus on early development in children these days, but when I was in kindergarten class was pointless. Class was not a time to learn academics. Class was a truce. A temporary cease-fire, called in by a greater authority, so that we might not completely destroy each other.
So we’d wait, and think about the next recess. We’d strategize and dream about how, like Jordan or Griffey Jr., we’d pull off some amazing feat of athleticism to win the game that would be talked about for years. Perhaps we’d win the affections of the cute girl in class, and she’d want to kiss us for our valor. Everyone would be our friend because they would see how skilled we were in didgeball. We’d think about every possibility but the likely one - getting knocked out first.