I wandered around the blacktop. First grade recess. I knew the players well from a regular recess duty with them last year, when they were kindergarteners. They’re seasoned now and serious players. They don’t waste any time on drama or fighting. They know these moments are precious.

Brady made eye contact and a slight nod of his head were all it took for him to toss me the football he had been carrying. Luckily, I caught his first throw. I was relieved, since he had assumed I looked like someone who not only wanted to play catch, but knew anything about catching a football.

I tossed the ball back. Brady jogged backwards and did a few big arm circles as his non-dominant hand held the football. He was warming up for something big. I wanted to shout across the blacktop him, “Go easy on me.” But, he was really pumped for this throw. “I have football practice after school today,” he announced as he pulled his arm way back. “4:15.”

I smiled on the outside, but braced myself for what was about to come my way.

I watched the football sail across the air, several feet away from where I was standing. There was no way I could catch it. We watched it bounce in my direction. That’s when caught it-the force of the throw weakened.

We silently threw the ball back and forth a few more times, before a game of four square caught Brady’s eye. He used his hand to motion to me that he was out of this game of catch as he ran towards his next match. I was left standing holding the football.

I did a lot of things today. I facilitated a grade level meeting and modeled shared reading. I taught my first Heggerty lesson, met with teachers, and helped load the last bus at dismissal. I carted my own kids from one place to another, packed, unpacked, and repacked lunchboxes. But tonight, when I sat down to write, it was Brady’s head nod invitation to toss around the football that stood out from this day.


9 thoughts on “Football

  1. I like the head nod, the meaningful, non-verbal signal that you rate. I also like the listing of your day’s activities that preceded that nod. It made the significance of the nod all the more notable.


  2. This right here is why we all show up at school every single day. I’m glad this is the moment of the day that made an imprint on your heart—the rest of the work is so, so important, but it means nothing if we don’t love the kids we serve.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re the kind of person who he knows is good for a game of catch. It’s clear the relationship he has with you is important. As Sarah said, this is why educators show up every single day.


  4. Don’t you just love those little unexpected miracles, a student calls your name as he walks by, another stops in the parking lot to tell you about her weekend. Day to day is full of so much joy.


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