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Saved by the Ball

Well of course that’s how everything would work out. I should have guessed as much.

Earlier in the year, Simon was stuck in a troubled triangle friendship. He and the one boy remained close friends and the other two boys remained close to each other, but Simon and the third boy were proving not to be very simpatico. I have my theories as to how or why this happened, but the only part that matters is that Simon was caught up in a bad dynamic, and on many days he had unhappy stories from the gym or playground.

Then things took a turn. Simon started wanting to play basketball in the gym, and he found a few other boys who were interested in joining him. Not either boy from the triangle, but a new crew: Ayokunie, Menelik, Adarius, and sometimes Idris.  When the weather warmed up, a few of these same boys took to the soccer field. On days they didn’t, Simon continued his solo efforts on the monkey bars.

For weeks after the basketball club was convened, I heard nothing about the third boy from the triangle. Truly not one mention. Simon finally brought him up again on one of our runs, and then again on a car ride home. This time the report was that they ran races together recently, and that the boy was nicer to him than he had been before.

Piecing the timeline together is hard, but from what I can tell, things happened this way:

  • Simon becomes friends with two boys.
  • One of the boys starts being mean to Simon; Simon doesn’t know what to do.
  • Simon begins to play basketball with a new group of boys.
  • The new group takes their game outside to the playground, too.
  • After a few months of self-deportation, the third boy gets nicer.

Now, I have no idea if the other boy changed his tune because he matured, because Simon’s absence robbed the boy of a target, or if Simon’s social stock rose when he began regularly playing a big boy game with some of the older kids in class. Frankly, I don’t care, either. All I know is that Simon’s love of ball gave him an escape route out of a difficult social situation and widened his social circle.

All hail the power of ball.

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