Monday, January 22, 2007

Scott's Google Earth Meme, Part V

This is Part Five of Scott's AELEOPE Google Earth Meme. I finally finished it, Scott. Sorry it took so long.

*****

What would memories of childhood be without the bittersweet recollections of one's first crush? Whether he teases you mercilessly or ignores you, there's always that frisson of excitement whenever you see him.

This is the school where I spent my elementary and high school years. The structure at the top right of the pic, the one with the flower-shaped roof, is the elementary school building; the others are the high school and college buildings (but during my day the school didn't offer college courses yet).

The guy in question, the inspiration of my 12-year-old heart (let's call him Reuben, that's close enough to his real name anyway) was my classmate in sixth grade. He was a boy who didn't talk too much. He had twinkling eyes and an engaging smile. And he was cute as hell.

We used to play a game in that little green area behind the grade school building (not the football field) during recess and after school hours. It was pretty similar to baseball; only there were no bats involved. The "pitcher" rolled a soccer ball to whoever was "at bat," who then had to kick it as hard as he or she could and hope that none of the rival team's members would catch it. Whether the "bases" were loaded or not, kicking the ball hard and making the rare "home run" was a cause for celebration.

I rarely played because I wasn't very athletic. I was content to just watch and cheer my friends on. Sometimes, though, they would persuade me to participate. I always chose to be the left fielder or right fielder; I was (and still am) such a lazy git and those positions didn't get much action.

Until one day.

I was standing in position way out in the field, watching the action in front. Then Reuben stepped up to the "plate." He kicked the ball. High and hard. I cheered for him (inwardly; he belonged to the other team). But I noticed something that made my jaw drop and my eyes almost pop out of their sockets. In the space of a few nanoseconds, what seemed like a lifetime of dialogue ensued in my mind.

The ball's coming toward me! Shit! (Except I really didn't think the word "shit"; I didn't start using that word until I was in high school.)

Catch it!

No, don't. He might get mad at me if I catch it. (A player is "out" if his/her kick is caught.)

Catch it!!!!

But...

Just catch the damn ball! (I really didn't think "damn" either. But it was something like that.)

So I ran. I was such an obedient child (even unto myself). Imagine this in slow motion, if you will. And listen to the music if you want to be really silly about this.

I rushed forward, heart in my throat, neck arched, eyes straining to follow the ball's trajectory.

I'm not going to catch iiiiiitttt!!!

Yes, you aaaarrrree!

My arms stretched outward and upward, my mind willing the ball to fall into them. The faintest flicker of hope bloomed within me. Maybe I was going to do it after all.

Then I tripped.

Down I fell, down, down, down. There I lay face down with my heart still galloping, pinpricks of pain in my knees and forearms from gashes I realized I must have suffered from the fall, the metallic taste of blood in my mouth from having bitten my tongue, the skirt of my school uniform hitched up, revealing panties that proclaimed the day of the week in curly letters for all the world to see. Oh, the shame!

Except I didn't feel any shame at all at that moment. Because, wonder of wonders, the ball was in my arms.

You did it.

I did it! Damn right I did.

Maybe it was then that I started to get an inkling of the idea that it IS possible to feel victorious in the most unfavorable conditions. That even when you're down and out and your ridiculous underwear is right there in full view of everyone you can still be a winner.

The bell rang. I got up, kicked the ball to its owner, grinned at Reuben's thumbs-up, brushed myself off, ran to the little girls' room to clean up some more, and headed back to the classroom.

Reuben, wherever you are right now, cheers. Catching your ball sure was memorable.

25 comments:

ShadowFalcon said...

I'm getting a chill of recognision reading that.

Thank goodness I never have to take part in school sport ever again

houseband00 said...

Uuuuy! Memorieeees!

=)

tsitsitsitsi-tengdeng-deneng deng-tsitsitsitsi...

Matt-Man said...

You're like a Rock Star Lizza!!

Lizza said...

Shadowfalcon: I still get a thrill thinking about it...not the sports part, but Reuben!

HB: Hahaha! Oo nga. Kinikilig pa din ako.

Matt-man: I am??? Thanks for telling me. ;-)

it's the little things said...

Excellently written post! If only we can remember the 'finer moments' in life at all times...

Natalie said...

I played that game too, we called it kickball. I always sucked and have no wonderous catching the ball stories.

Dan said...

Great story Lizza! I was right there with you! And I agree with you when you say "... even when you're down and out and your ridiculous underwear is right there in full view of everyone you can still be a winner."

Except for the underwear part. ;)

thethinker said...

We played a game just like that in elementary school. I don't know if there's a real name for it, but we were pretty original so we just termed it "kickball".

Great story. I was worried there for a second that the story would end in humility.

Sanni said...

You rock, Lizza! I was so with you while reading - I feel my arms are at least one meter longer then before. I look like a monkey! I swear =)

Michael C said...

My only kickball memories center around the ball hitting me head...or so they tell me. The rest is, well, I can't remember ;-)

Kiyotoe said...

i wouldn't expect anything less. The Dragon only surrounds himself with the most outstanding of characters.

kickball was THEE sport until we were old enough to get into the organized stuff.....football, baseball, GIRLS, etc. ;)

Scott from Oregon said...

Oh my God, Lizza! You made me jump up and down in my little computer room and root for you and then cry like you just won the Superbowl!

I played kickball as a kid, only I had the strongest "foot" in my grade and kicked home runs almost everytime I was up.

The only time I was ever in grave trouble at school was because I knocked a girl down running the bases once after a kick.

I am SO glad you caught that ball!

What a blessed moment!

Now, who is going to do the MEME next?

Sidney said...

Another nice story! You are a talented writer!

Julia Scissor said...

My first crush was way back in second grade. I even remember his name. Ironically, I turned radical feminist in junior high. I plan to blog about it someday.
BTW, great story.

iz said...

In sixth grade I tripped over a bag and my uniform flew over my head and got stuck in my uniform. And my pink panties were on display for a whole five minutes because i couldn't unstick my uniform. Still haven't lived it down!

SGT DUB said...

Great story Lizza, I, of course, never had the underwear problem. I found the big black marker and marked out the days of the week, so nobody would know.

Prometheus said...

Great post Lizza. Yeah, panties.. no, Prometheus means playing ball.. yeah, that's cool. And with panties.. erm, bases loaded and panties.. umm, the ball comin right at ya.

A good post on panties.. oops, sports.. is always a good read.

Lizza said...

Marlayna: Yes. But perhaps it's also good that we remember them at random moments. :-)

Natalie: Kickball! Thanks! Now I finally know what it's called...after 27 years of not knowing. Jeez. I can be such a dumbass.

Dan: C'mon, you can admit to having worn ridiculous underwear. :-)

Thinker: Apparently I'm the only one in this part of the world who doesn't know what that game is called.

Your new picture is great! I just love jeans that look like they have so much character.

Sanni: Haha! I'm glad. Glad that you enjoyed the post that is, not that you looked like a monkey reading it.

Michael: You know, if your writing is one of the results of getting hit in the head...I'm kind of glad that that happened. :-)

Kiyotoe: Whoa, there. Organized stuff=GIRLS??? Enlighten me, O Sage One.

Scott: First of all, thanks for passing this on. You made me remember a lot of stuff that I haven't thought about in years.

I'm so glad to learn that you felt this post. And equally glad that I never played kickball with you. :-D

A few others plan to do the meme; Sanni's doing it already. Cooool.

Sidney: Thank you very much, I appreciate your praise. I'll be happy if I ever get to be half as good a writer as you are a photographer. (If you guys want to see the beautiful and not-so-beautiful sides of the Philippines, go to Sidney's photoblog. His pics are true.

Julia: Thanks! I'll get around to blog-visiting again ASAP, and I hope to read your post soon.

Iz: Haha! Oh, the mishaps of childhood. But what the hey.

Sgt: Hahaha! I wish I could've done that, but you don't know my mother. There would've been hell to pay.

Prometheus: Mon ami, I was 12, for crying out loud. Please don't tell me that you find the topic of prepubescent girls' panties titillating. :-D

Odat said...

Wow Lizza, you really put a lot of work into this....that's a terrific memory!
Peace

Lizza said...

odat: Once the memory bank was tapped, the words flowed like an irrepressible stream of diarrhea--they couldn't be stopped. Just the music and the picture were all the "work" I had to do.

I miss your posts, my friend. Forgive my lapse, I will head on over to your mumblings posthaste.

H said...

Awesome. brilliant. totally cracked up.

Reuben must've thought you were the coolest girl in school!

Mike said...

Wow! So cool. Well written, too. I was on the edge of my breath, holding my seat! And I cheered when you caught the ball.

I have a little girl. Your blog helps me understand her, I think. Thanks

Lizza said...

Thank you very much, Mike! Yes, that was quite a memory. I'm glad you somehow sensed what I was trying to say.

Best wishes to your little girl. And to the rest of the family. :-)

EE said...

thought i was going to pee my pants when the Chariot of Music came on...how appropriate!!!

Lizza said...

Haha! Glad you had fun reading the post, ee. And thanks for visiting.