we played spud as kids. the abby drive kids ran through yards trying to escape the inevitable impact of the ball.
i was “it” a lot. i lived next door to a family with eight children, all of whom were athletic whizzes. when one of these athletes was “it” they’d throw the ball up, call out a number and we’d scatter, in my memory, in the grass close by. the catcher of the ball – the new “it” – would easily lob the ball over to someone frozen on the lawn and that kid would be the new “it”. easy-peasy.
but – there was a tad bit of hypocrisy here. when i was called “it”, they would scatter rapidly, their feet sailing across grassy yards, barely touching as i ran for the ball to yell “spud”. and then they froze what-seemed-like miles away, hiding behind any objet d’art disguised as a towering oak or big forsythia. my measly throw, complicated by those trees and bushes, would ensure my continuation as “it”, sometimes ad nauseam. this did not make playing spud fun.
in a few ptsd moments, i just read the rules of spud online – and it appears that you are not allowed to hide behind things. you are to run out in the open so as to move the game along and pass “it” status around. ahh. somehow, i’m sure i guessed that back in 1968 when i was in the middle of catching the ball yet again and calling out “spud” yet again and throwing at the targeted kid once again. but the rules were not quite objective and, when you have a family of eight vs one or two others, you are definitely at a deficit. things are not stacked in your favor. this is probably why i loved hopscotch so much.
bullies are everywhere. we encounter them in our daily lives: at work, at school, out in public, in the political arena. they change the rules willy-nilly to suit their agenda; they justify changing them with empty words of hypocrisy.
and now, people are running spud-ptsd-scared away, hiding behind each other, their integrity underground, “it” – the truth – unable to touch them behind their objets d’art: the smug all-powerful-makes-his-own-rules-to-suit-himself senate majority leader and the sinister autocratic-wishing-wishing-wishing president of this united states. the ball, so to speak, is in their hands and they are hiding, clutching their (non) great america and its questionable future, in plain view.
it makes me want to play hopscotch.
©️ 2020 david robinson