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November 24, 2005

Games For Which I'm Grateful

Massively Multi-Player Freeze Tag
San Antonio, Texas. Circa 1975. Blessed Sacrament Parish School. For several years, while I was the age my children are now, my school had a vacant field one acre in size. We would pass the time during recess playing a multi-grade game of freeze tag that seemed to have begun long before recorded history and which would go on forever. The play spanned the entire field, which felt like an entire universe. We played in teams that divided up along intuitively obvious lines, those that had cooties (girls) and those that didn't (boys). As I think back to it, and do the math, there would be no fewer than a hundred players each day. Each grade had thirty-five kids, and first through fourth graders would play, yelling and screaming with glee at the top of our lungs. The fifth graders were known to have achieved a level of sophistication beyond our reach. They stayed indoors during recess and played Jacks. It seems that they had managed a kind of cooties detente. The fifth grade boys could bring themselves to sit down with the girls – without exploding – and play a genteel game, competing without antagonism. It seemed inconcievable to us running on the field as fast as we could, rescuing our frozen comrades, that anything like peaceful coexistence with those strange creatures could ever come to pass. Something very powerful must happen in the summer between fourth and fifth grade. The game eventually came to an end when construction began on the grand new church that the parish erected on site. Even though the field has been transformed, I can't visit the site without remembering the bliss of the bell that signalled recess.

Posted by SWEAT at November 24, 2005 10:42 AM


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