For college today, I had to go to this place in Liberty Park called Youth City. It is an after school program for kids whose parents want to conveniently get rid of them for 3 hours after school, racking up a grand total of 9 or 10 hours of kid free time on a school day. Smart parents. A far cry better than letting them be latch key kids, that's for damn sure.
Anyways, after 2 hours of orientations and whatnot, we all went outside to play some dodgeball hybrid, involving different colored balls, which accomplished different things. I was somewhat hesitant at first, because I wasn't really in the mood to run around with a bunch of kids 8-14, throwing balls around. Plus, I felt like maybe I would feel weird throwing balls at kids half my size, and (for some) 1/3 my age (shit.)
However, as the team captains were picked, something happened to me that never before happened in my life. I was picked first. Granted, I was a pretty damn obvious choice for a first pick, being the second hugest male there. But nonetheless, I went from being mostly indifferent, to very invested in who we were going to be picking for the rest of our team mates.
"No, June, don't pick him. He looks weak."
"Seriously June? Roger? You picked Roger? Did you not notice that he is slightly favoring his right leg? What happens when he can't pivot to avoid a grenade throw? Then what? Well, I'll tell you then what. Roger, his game leg, AND whomever is standing closest to him--gone. Dammit June, use your head."
For whatever reason, as soon as we started playing, I immediately snapped into "way serious dodgeball mode." A mode I wasn't previously aware that I had. I was entranced. Thoroughly invested. I was all over the field, blocking throws from weak arms with a ball in one hand, and then creaming the thrower with the ball from the other hand. Heads, bodies, arms, legs, stomachs. I can't aim worth a damn, so I hit whatever I could. I was ruthless. Effective. Deadly.
I think it finally dawned on me that I was being totally ridiculous when I drilled a kid right in the crotch with a mustard gas ball, and he curled up in the fetal position on the grass for 3 minutes. I think in the end, we both thought it was a pretty good joke.
Turns out, my team kinda sucked. When it came down to me and about 3 other kids, I let my guard down and got pegged right in the eyeball. I sat on the grass in shame, hoping someone would catch the purple ball so I could reenter the game. I tried to sneak back in unnoticed, but some 9 year old called me out.
Ultimately, my team lost. But I'll be damned if it was my fault. It was ROGER'S fault. He was the weak link. I told June. But she didn't listen.
And that, I think, was the lesson we were supposed to learn. Your war ball team is only as strong as your weakest Roger. So don't pick Roger.