While watching my son climb the monkey bars at our local park a few days ago, I became incredibly nervous. I wasn’t nervous that his sweaty little fingers were going to lose their grip on the metal bars and he would plummet to the wood chips below, but I was nervous because two older boys were playing football about 50 yards away from the park bench where I was sitting.
Why should I be nervous that children were casually tossing the pigskin so far away? Well, here’s why.
Tennis Match, Jr. High, 1994. While playing an intense game of doubles, my partner served a wicked backhand to the opposing team. I foolishly took my eyes off the tennis ball and glanced at her to say, “good job” when the fuzzy little Wilson flailed back over the net and belted me in the nose. I was only 13, but I cursed nearly as much as John McEnroe.
Basketball Game, High School, 1997. I was wide open, and I relayed this information to my teammate, Tamera, by screaming out that I was wide open. Instead of catching the ball with my wide open hands, though, I proceeded to deflect the fast-flying orb with my head. The other team grabbed the forehead rebound and scored.
Pensacola Beach, Florida, 2008. Two college guys decided to play a friendly game of volleyball behind my family’s camp of beach towels, lawn chairs and plethora of sand toys. They didn’t foresee that the round white weapon would go awry and pound a poor stay-at-home mother, who was minding her own business relaxing in the sun and jamming to The Black Crowes on her iPod, square between the eyes. I ate lobster tail that night with an ice pack stuck to my face.
Resort Pool, Vacation, 2010. While standing in the shallow end conversing with a friend about Kindles versus Nooks, a rogue and soaking wet Nerf ball pelted me in the back of the skull. The teenage boys who were responsible for the assault found it hilarious that the impact sent me screaming and running from the pool because I mistakenly thought I’d been shot.
Birthday Party, Hometown, 2012. A tee-ball themed birthday party for Jr. seemed like a wonderful idea until a stray sphere rapidly flew from the tee and made its way to my temple, causing me to fall to the floor with my Capri Sun and cupcake, writing in pain.
My Daughter’s Softball Practice, Hometown, 2014. I saw the pop fly glide over the fence. I watched it sail directly towards my cranium. I was so shocked that I was being assaulted by another stray ball that I laughed before the yellow hell-rock pounded me in the kisser.
As you can see, all askew balls within a tri-state radius are attracted to my skull.
“No,” I thought aloud as my boy moved from the monkey bars to the slide, “There’s no way that football will find me. I’ve done my time with balls to the face. I’ve done my damn time. There’s no way-“
Bam. Zap. Pow. 50 yards. 100MPH. 33-year-old woman down.
That’s it. I’m staying inside and using the “Clueless” excuse from now on.
“My plastic surgeon doesn’t want me doing any activity where balls fly at my nose.”
There goes my social life.