Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gang Confrontation and My Nice Lady Leg

I pulled on my workout gear and headed out the door, fully charged phone in hand. I was going out into the big bad world of Sioux Falls for a good old fashioned outdoor workout. My path took me toward the Cathedral district, and you never know what sort of trouble you will run into out there. You could get attacked by a rabid nun. I don't feel we are quite at the point where I need to truly arm myself against attack, but I do carry a pepper shaker in the event that I'm accosted by a poorly seasoned sirloin.

Sioux Falls, like many other cities around the country, has been promoting "Diversity" the past few years. There have been commercials on the local stations, radio spots, signs, and programs in schools to help people learn to be accepting of other races, cultures, and lifestyles. IT.IS.WORKING!

As I rounded the corner by the church I spotted a local gang of middle school ruffians. You can tell they are a gang because they are all dressed the same; Jeans, tennis shoes, hoodies, and ball caps. They are not to be confused with teenage girls, who also all seem to dress the same. Everyone knows teenage girls are far more vicious than any gang of wanna be posers.

Like this but less ferocious. 
Our neighborhood gang of rowdies is embracing the whole "Diversity" program. They are all different heights, weights, and breaking it down further... One Sudanese, 1 Hispanic, 1 Pacific Islander, 1 Korean, 1 Vietnamese, and 1 White kid of unknown decent (based on our hood it could be run of the mill American mutt Caucasoid or Czech Rep). Here's what I do know, they had sticks. I was spoiling for a fight, a rumble really. I was just waiting for one of them to call me "nice lady" or "Jacob's mom" <shaking fist>. It's a damn good thing none of them did. I would have kicked their little 8th grade asses. Unfortunately, I was able to keep walking without any trouble.

My favorite part of my outdoor treks is that I get to circle the lake area. The big open fields around the Veteran's memorial call to the kids of the area apartment buildings, "Come out! Bring a soccer ball!" and they obey. While it may not be the wealthy part of town, it isn't something you will notice on the makeshift soccer fields. The laughter and the games raise the spirits to frenzied levels, then as the children eventually tire, they laugh breathlessly about a missed goal, someones footwork, and who might be responsible for making his way to the area in the distance where the ball has traveled.

My heart lifts to see the joy on their faces. Little girls skip and dance along the sidewalks, comparing cartwheel expertise with one another while their mothers watch from a distance chatting quietly in a language I don't understand. The pace slows for me while I wind through the trails, careful not to trip over a darting child here or there. It was during this part of my routine that I finally got called into the game. A wayward soccer ball rolled to a stop just short of my location.

My mind raced like a nervous first timer in the game. "Do I pick it up and throw it? No, this is soccer, stupid. You're not really a goalie." I chided myself. A small voice yelled, "Can we have the ball back?" Adrenaline pumped through me as I positioned myself for the delivery. Remembering back to those PE classes from long ago, I drew my right leg back and swung it forward with all my strength, delivering it squarely back into play. There were cheers and claps. One kid said, "That was an AWESOME kick!" and another yelled, "Thanks LADY!" <DAMMIT!> Still, the magic of the moment carried me over their dirty slur.

I smiled and waved as I limped back onto the path. My "nice lady" leg was a little tight from the over extension I gave it whilst showing off.

What is your favorite part of spring? Do you have a favorite outdoor sport to participate in?

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