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Me the Bridge and the T-ball gang

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One of the exercises we do as part of our warm-up is to get on our hands and knees in the thick, three-inch long, green, green grass of the right field — “I know,” Tommy Moore, 6, says when we finish touching our noses to our toes, anticipating what comes next. Even before I say get on your hands and knees, he knows. “Crawl around two other people.”

“Right,” I say, telling him how smart he is to remember that. What I ask us to do is to try crawling around two other people, two other kids who are also on their hands and knees trying to do the same thing themselves. It is an interesting, challenging, nearly impossible task. But the kids do it. All except one, Tommy Moore, who this summer has started to crawl under me, making me a bridge — I am on all fours, too. My arms are the front end, my legs the rear end, my chest the underside of this human-body bridge.

“Okay,” I say, “try to crawl around two other people.” Tommy is to my right. When I say okay, go, he turns toward me and immediately crawls under me. Then he whirls around, making an about-face, and does it again, coming this time now from my left.

I like it. I think it’s funny and creative. I lower the bridge (my chest) an inch or two, so my chest grazes his back. I squash him down a little, threatening to flatten him into the grass, making it harder for him to pass through, and this makes us both very happy. We both laugh, and as I announce it — “I’ve become a bridge! Tommy’s made me a bridge!” — he has spun around a second time and is waddling under me a third time.

And then the most wonderful thing happens. A whole gang of them comes at me. Kian Rainey, 5, motors over on his knees, heading for the human bridge I have become. Lila Crockett, 4, follows closely behind him. Alex Hamilton, 5, comes waffling over next. Miles Anderson, 3, is on Alex’s tail, and Maddy McGuire, 5, bustles eagerly, happily, over to me; with her head down, she barrels under Me the Bridge. Ciela Rohmann Fox, 7, Kim Hunter’s fabulous granddaughter visiting from Rhode Island, finds this human bridge, too, and Tommy’s back for a fourth pass through, the beaming, acrobatic Neirin Barker, 4, close behind him. Lucy Geis, 4.75, appears out of nowhere and sails through, her beauty blinding me for a moment. There’s a traffic jam. Two, three, four kids are trying to get through, get under me, all at once. Henry Geis, 4.75, Lucy’s twin, comes chortling through when the lane opens again, and the kids just keep coming, shuffling, shambling, slinking, sidling, crawling through once, twice, three times.

Though some kids — Elijah Yelton, 6, Oliver Lee, 7, Orion Sage-Frabotta, 4, Maggie Bullock, 3, Adelia Colon, 2 — stay back, busy crawling and trying to circle each other, the traffic under Me the Bridge is intense. So intense, too many kids trying to wedge their way under the bridge at the same time, we have a pile up, a gang of kids jammed up under me. I lower my chest upon them, squeezing them a bit, threatening a total collapse. They, of course, just squeal with delight. When a child, a handsome hip-hop boy with great hair who says his nickname is Rad, starts to climb on me, I know it is time. If one kid climbs on, three, four, five, six more are soon to follow. In no time I’ll be flat on my belly in the grass unable to move, much less breathe. It’s a claustrophobic time for me, a panic but a millimeter away. So when Rad begins to scale me, I get to my feet, gently shaking him off. On the ground to my right and at my feet is a pair of piles of children stacked atop each other, giggling, squealing, happy as songbirds at the break of day.

And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’s T-ball program for swarming girls and swarming boys age 2–9. We’re open to all our community’s children regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ability or disability, sexual or spiritual or religious orientation. Or interest or disinterest in swarming. We’ll be out there at Gaunt Park for five more Friday nights — we will not have T-ball this Friday, July 4, as Gaunt Park will be the site of the village’s popular and wondrous Fourth of July fireworks display. But we’ll be back and at it again the following Friday, July 11, and four more Fridays after that (till our final trophy-potluck picnic night Aug. 8), from 6:30–8 p.m. Want to come swarm with us? Or watch our darling T-ball kids swarming, surprising us, having yet again a wonderful Friday night at T-ball? We’d love to have you join us. And we are fairly certain, that if you come, and keep your eye on the kids, you will have a wonderful, joyful time. And why wouldn’t you want one of those?

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