A couple weeks ago our soon to be 12 year old granddaughter had a volleyball game against our local elementary school. We jumped at the close proximity to go see her play as well as cheer on the home team.
Ed and I had fun cheering for both teams. He’s always had the mindset of cheering for whichever team has a good play, a philosophy we would all do well to emulate. It can be loads of fun attending a game with him and have a riot cheering everyone on — when he’s in the mood to watch a sport, although, on the whole he’s never been keen on sports. (that’s putting it mildly!)
During the years our kids attended this school I was the volleyball coach. The K-8 student body is relatively small so often the team consists of kids 5th – 8th grade. I loved coaching and teaching the basic foundations of the sport. Watching the kids play made me itch to sign up to coach again. Stepping back in time: the gym, the Jaguar that was made by the librarian’s husband and painted by some of the kids right before we moved here in the late 80’s, the same officiator – a wonderful teacher with a passion for the kids who also taught both of my kids when they were in 6th grade. Our back yard neighbor’s daughter was playing so I searched out her mom. There she was sitting up in the bleaches with her mom. I went up to say Hello and mention the collapse of years. Was it really that long ago that I was coaching her while her mom was cheering on for her in that same spot on the bleachers, and now here we are cheering on her daughter.
Blurry picture of Abigail on the visiting team.
Meanwhile, my own daughter who also played on the school team is sitting there cheering on her step-daughter. (Not looking too thrilled here, the days are tiring when a game is tacked on to the end of an already long work day). Violet was contentedly entertained with her little toys.
At the end of the game, set & match the local coach gave all of the eighth graders flowers in celebration of the season and their last elementary volleyball game. One of the joys of a small school!
Just down the bleacher from my daughter was a grandmother animatedly interacting with a couple young children and loudly cheering on some of the kids from the visiting team. Something seemed familiar about her and I’d find myself glancing down the row to study her face. How did I know her? Looking at the kids on the court, aware of the rapid passage of time I wondered if she could be someone I’d gone to school with when I was in 6th, 7th grade attending the very school that Abigail now attended. Another small country school up in the hills about 20 miles away near where we lived for two years before moving to Northern Arizona.
She laughed loudly and suddenly I knew. She was the older sister of my best friend when I was 12, 13! I hadn’t seen her in about 40 years but hadn’t forgotten her laugh. After the game I approached her, “Lorraine? I’m Waffle.” At the mention of my old nickname her face lit up in astonishment then she grabbed me in a big hug. What a great reconnection, as well as a fun event that ended up providing so many rich, living memories. As a child my family moved fairly often; I attended six different schools between 1st – 12th grades. Each time we’d start over in establishing our place and making new friends. To have stayed here while our kids went from K through high school seems a marvel. To put down roots that sink a bit deeper with each passing year is a blessing.
Our granddaughter, Abigail, was thrilled that we came. We’ll be sure to watch her play basketball when her school comes for a game. Have you ever watched 6th – 8th graders play basketball? It can be a wild, fun experience. I’m already looking forward to that time!