The blue ball
I was on vacation a few days last week, so here’s something from the archives. And yes, I’ll be writing about our latest adventures on the high seas in the future.
Recently I've been on a "what if" kick.
What if the electricity went out? What would the SONS of Thunder do? No Nintendo Wii, no Sony Playstation, no online computer games. The PSPs and Ipods and other handheld devices would eventually run out of juice. And they'd be stuck just looking at us with a "how can I survive?" look on their faces.
I remember the good old days, days of rocks and sticks and dirt. We could create anything out of those materials. Kids today have no imagination. They are zombies without devices that plug-in or have rechargeable batteries. Or are they?
Enter the blue ball.
The blue ball came about because the Little Black Dress was sick and tired of the Sons sitting inside playing computer games "WHEN IT IS PERFECTLY GORGEOUS OUTSIDE!!!" Or something to that effect.
So she went and bought a $2.50 ball — blue in color, about 2 feet in diameter. Thinking about that purchase, I realized it was about 100 to 150 times less expensive than some of their other toys.
"Go play. Go play outside. Here," she said as she handed the SONS the blue ball. There were looks of disbelief, some whining and a few muttered "we have no life, you never let us do anything fun, it's too hot, what do we do with this, all my friends ..."
So they shuffled off with heads down. Within a few minutes, inspiration apparently struck. The old kickball game started off, with lots of various unheard of rules. That soon led to some type of baseball game and The Dress warning the SONS not to get too close to each other because they might hit one another in the head and …
A SON is slammed upside the head. And everyone is blaming everyone else for why said SON got hit and someone wasn't following some rule and so on and so forth. Whatever. Man up and play was my motto.
After wiping the tears and snot and everything else, a new game commenced. All I know is it involved one SON holding the ball and running as hard as he could into another SON. If the second SON was knocked down, the first SON then threw the ball as hard as he could at the fallen SON, apparently with face hits counting double.
This, of course, led the LBD to start yelling about being too rough and how the youngest SON weighs about one-tenth the second SON and you can't sit on him and …
Then I open my stupid mouth and try to point out the SONS are, indeed, boys, and they are named the SONS of Thunder for a reason. Which leads the LBD to giving me one of those looks. And I try and respond with the fact they will be fine and then, of course, one of the SONS gets nailed and starts crying. And I get that other look from The Dress.
I never win.
But I learned a few things. One, the SONS are incredibly quiet when they are playing electronics. They are incredibly loud when using non-electronic devices. Two, they have amazing imaginations. Three, their imaginations have no limits.
I have a wonderful opportunity and a scary obligation: to help them never lose that imagination. Because with it, they can achieve anything they set their minds to.
(John A. Winters is general manager of The Newnan Times-Herald. Follow his adventures at justflipthedog.com. You can email him at email@example.com)