The new girl stepped up to the plate, none of us had any idea what to expect. The pitcher rolls the big red rubber ball towards the plate. She suddenly looks horrified, not knowing what to do. She tries to kick it, figuring in a game called "Kickball", that is what you do. The ball hits the edge of her foot, and spins behind her. We all giggle and move in a bit. Second pitch, the horror and fear compound....same thing...I can actually see the panic in her eyes, holding back the tears, my teammates continuing to giggle. I stop suddenly, with an overwhelming feeling of shame and guilt at giggling at all.
My immediate reaction...What can I do? How can I help her? I feel helpless. The other kids in the class whisper, giggle and talk behind her back. I am witnessing first hand how bullying begins. It is not right...I know it right away.
She tentatively approaches home plate again for her next time up. Everyone moves in before she even gets there. I see her heart start to crumble right before my eyes. Day after day, she dreads my favorite class of the day...GYM ( that is what it was called in the 1970's)
UGH...english...I hate this class. I cant spell and I suck at it, yet out of the corner of my eye, I see this girl, who hates gym. She is smiling...bouncing into class as if it is the best thing ever. Hmmm, we are different. Mr. Menesale pairs us up. Oh boy, I think to myself.
YET, to my suprise, an amazing friendship develops. We click instantly and end up dancing in her basement, having sleepovers, climbing trees, running around the block and going to the mall every weekend.
Then, there is GYM.
One day I innocently ask..."Do you want to see if I can teach you how to kick a ball?" The smile that spreads over her face warms my heart...as if she thought I would never ask. I pitch, she kicks, over and over...we kick and kick and kick until we finally fall down in laughter and exhaustion.
She steps up to the plate...everyone has already moved in...The Pitch...and then THE KICK! Over everyones head...she runs around first moving to second (did I mention she could run?) around second! around Third...her smile getting bigger and bigger. The best home run ever...No more fear, shame, embarrasement, or dread.
There is triuph, confidence...I learn an important lesson. Let go of the judgement of others. Help, assist, care and teach. Find your truest strength and share it with others. The support and belief of an other is the most rewarding of all.