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This was originally written last year on Nov. 2 for an English class. This was an actual occurrence. Some names have been changed in order to protect the innocent.

Dear Gym Teacher,

In my life I have learned many different things the hard way. Just this (past) year, I learned that I should never play any structured sports that adults don't play without padding. It can really hurt! As I see it, many structured sports are dangerous.

I had only been in school for about a month when it happened: the teacher said that we were going to play "Capture the Flag"; an evil, vile game designed like a seek-and-destroy missile to "seek" out the non-athletic and take them down early in the game. I myself, being nothing but a lump of fatty tissue, bones, nerves, and untrained muscle, was an easy target. Standing around in my red and white gym uniform on the west side of the football field on slick and muddy turf, I spied a villain: a human blur of loud orange barreling at a high velocity straight for my team's flag. I ran, full tilt, after the assailant, Bill Robert, but so did a teammate, John Wittler. The offensive blur was too fast, and John and I collided as Bill slinked past us. PoW! I recieved a full and hearty blow to the head: John's front teeth broke off on my skull, and I was bleeding profusely. We both went to the clinic, but the game played on. Within a few minutes, two other students joined the list of casualties and caught up with John and I in the clinic. After reconstructive stitches, I felt and looked considerably better. John, however, was going to have to have a lot of expensive dental work done--but that's his story, not mine!

I have noticed that adults have constantly been trying to kill off the physically challenged. Sure, they have made up many long soliloquies about not making fun of guys who throw like girls, or girls who throw like lilac flowers, but they mocked all of the weak by making us play on the jungle gym. Seesaws, hot slides, and feces infested sand boxes would be that reason why many kids got hurt or sick. Many boys lost the chance early to have low voices when they were older because of hot slides or and seesaws, and girls had a fear of scuzzy sand boxes. The jungle gym was a remorseless killer, especially the monkey bars. Kids with little upper body strength would attempt to climb the taupe rungs, and they would slip off or lose their grip before the halfway point and tumble to the ground. A friend of mine, Kathy Grummel, once broke her arm after falling off the monkey bars. It was very traumatic to see her lying on the pea gravel moaning like that when I was only seven years old. I had a fear of the bars because I had seen the horror.

Another game the adults made us play didn't break arms, but broke spirit, and the occasional rib. Dodge ball, a game almost as evil as "Capture the Flag", caused many bruises throughout my gym class life. The boys threw the Nerf balls too hard, often aiming it right at the nearest blooming lass' bottom or chest. The gym teacher would then yell at the girl to stop whining and catch the ball. I always wanted to throw the ball really hard at a gym teacher to let them know how it felt: the boot camp drill sergeants!

Sadly, it was (and is for many) still true that "structured sports" that children are forced to play are often five to ten times more dangerous than the games I used to play in the neighborhood as a kid. In fact, I don't think I was ever seriously hurt until I had to participate in a "structured" gym class. So, I still stand by my convictions: BAN CAPTURE THE FLAG!

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Comments? E-mail me at [email protected] ! I love getting feedback. Read and Review!--Abbie