The other day, I drove past a group of school children playing parachute. It took everything I had not to pull over, run across the field and beg them to let me play. Okay, so while I wanted to, I also didn’t want the cops called on me for chasing up to a bunch of kids.
In school I was not liked, as in I was not a welcomed friend. I was an outcast, for whatever reason, I don’t remember. Maybe it was my clothes, or my personality, I cannot say now, or then.
When it came to group activities in school I was always the last picked. At times other kids were even instructed to pick me. Talk about embarrassing. So going P.E. was my ultimate fear, and not because of the uniforms.
It must have been about 4th or 5th grade when I was introduced to the parachute game. When Mr. Clark pulled the parachute out of the multicolored bag I was in full wonderment of what would happen next.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about let me explain. The parachute was gigantic to a eight year old, especially one as short as me. It had handles all around it, enough for everyone, so no one was left out, including me. Everyone had to work together and there was zero room to exclude anyone, everyone was equal because they had to be. The parachute games only worked if everyone participated.
Every time the parachute came out, we played the same games, and I loved a routine. Mr. Clark would throw a bunch of Nerf balls on top and we all had to shake up and down in unison to get them to fly as high as they would go. Then Mr. Clark would call your name and another student and you had to run and switch places. We would also lift it up and then get under it, sitting on our handle as the center stayed up in the air and the colors filtered all around.
Yet, my most favorite was when you got to lay in the the middle, on your back, and all the kids would lower it up and down as the colors appeared to explode around you like a sky full of stars.
So, driving past these kids and that big, colorful parachute caused me to smile. I hoped that any kids feeling like I did were able to fit in, even if only for thirty minutes.