The Tao of Catch:
Peeps into the past

Susan York
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Recently, date guy and I happened to see two children playing ball one Sunday afternoon as we sat outside on the deck, enjoying some spring weather. The girl was a bit older and larger than the boy, both in grade school, it appeared. They carried with them a large, bouncing ball, as large as a beach ball, and they began bouncing it off of a garage door, a game of modified handball, if you will. One would throw the ball at the door, then the other would be expected to hit it back toward the door, each taking a turn.
Watching this, I remarked to date guy that I remembered so much of my childhood spent bouncing a tennis ball off the side of my parents' brick house, practicing my tennis moves, backhand, forehand, etc. For hours, I'd hit the ball, hit the ball, hit the ball... Date guy said that he would have grown easily bored by such a game and would have made rules to make it more exciting.
As we were discussing this, I began to notice the smaller child, the boy, chasing the ball into the woods and retrieving it. I also noticed that even when the girl missed the hit, she'd simply stand there until the boy would finally give chase so they would not lose the ball in the woods and the hill in the wood that would allow the ball to go down into another neighborhood.
I began to grow resentful of the girl, smug in her elder age and size, refusing to give chase to the ball, refusing to make the game more equitable to account for the boy's lack of coordination resulting from their age difference. I told date guy this, and when I did, I realized I was projecting my relationship with my bossy older sister on to these children, placing myself in the shoes of the young boy. As a result, I cheered when he finally appeared to stop the game, went up to the older girl and argued with her about how unfair she was being. When she apparently refused to play in a more equitable fashion, he tossed the ball in her direction and walked home. She stood there for a good five minutes, holding the ball, not playing by herself, just holding the ball, as if she were sure he would return. After awhile, she, too, left.
No moral to the story as far as I can see. It's simply interesting how an old feeling, stored away in a dusty closet, can be brought out into the new day, just by the sight of two children playing ball.

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