Practicing in Public

September 9, 2018

TODAY’S PROMPT: Keywords: sportssporkreligion – highway – mountain

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My parents emphasized the necessity to participate in sports. I was the least athletic kid in school; I even think the girls were better at physical education and sports than I was.

I was a musician – a dreamer – next of kin to a philosopher. But, at my parents prodding, I tried out for the football team. No joke. When the big guy ran toward me to complete a tackle, I tossed the ball into the air and curled up into a ball. He went for the ball and tripped over me. A new play but the last time I was allowed on the field during either practice or a game. To be fair, I never even made the team.

Then, I tried cross country running. I got lost in the woods. Basketball. I tripped over my shoelaces. Swimming? Well, I had never really learned how to swim, so during try out week, I had the coach performing a beautiful lifesaving leap to pull my unathletic ass from the bottom of the pool. Wrestling? It was the shortest one-sided match the coach had ever seen. Track? Track became my friend. Although one day, I think I tripped on the lane lines on the outdoor track. I could run. I wasn’t the fastest, but I wasn’t the slowest.

My best experiences on the track team were the away meets. Those found us on the bus before the end of the school day, and I missed religion class.

Yup, you guessed it. I went to a parochial school. A prestigious parochial school. St. Mary’s on the Mountain. The odd thing about that was that I was not catholic and neither were my parents. The school did not require its students to already be catholic, but it required all students to take courses in religion.

Today, as we all boarded the bus for the away meet, I noticed Simpson eating a pudding, more than likely left over from his lunch, with a spork.

“Hey, Simpson, is that a spoon you’re eating your pudding with?”

“Nope. It’s a spork.”

“A what?” I pretended to sound as aghast as I possibly could. “How could you be eating your pudding with a spork?”

“I dunno. It’s what my mom packed in my lunch. You know, the kind that the chicken place gives you.”

Did he really? Did he really just give me the ammo I needed for this long bus ride?

“Simpson,” I began, “the spork is an agent of the devil. We have spoons and we have forks. Each has its purpose. We eat cereal and pudding and gelatin and soup with a spoon, but we eat meat, potatoes, and vegetables with a fork. Imagine that the spoon is soft and gentle, but the fork is sharp and tough. Now, we don’t naturally have soft and sharp together at the same time, nor do we have gentle and tough at the same time. Mixing the two is creating an agent of the devil. Sporks are evil, do you hear me? Sporks are evil and must be totally done away with.”

Simpson stopped eating the pudding and dropped it, and the offending spork, into his brown paper lunch bag. As he hurried to the front of the bus to drop the offending contents into the trash container, I sat back and smiled.

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With the beginning of September 2018, I re-committed to writing my “prompt pages” every day.



Maybe using the first 10 minutes of the class period with my high school creative writing students has stuck with me. I find that if I don’t start with these, I feel lost, but when I do, everything else to my writing day seems to flow. My “prompt pages” are written and posted without any editing. It is simply “showing up, butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard writing.


  • Bharat Sharma

    This is so beautifully written. I got lost in it as if I was taking a look at my own childhood.

    I was also an unathletic kid with no interest in sports and games. I was more interested in reading comics and quiz books. My classmates used to make fun of me but I never gave a duck.

    However, one day I decided that enough is enough and it’s time to put a new picture on the wall.

    I asked my friends if I could join their football team? They hesitated for a minute but then gave me an okay sign. I was too short to run for the football against those big muscular bulls and played it safe.

    I tried best to stay away from the football but there was a time when the ball came close to me and my teammates started shouting ‘Hit the ball”. I was so excited about it and hit the ball with all the energy I had in my legs.

    It moved a couple of feet and I felt sad.

    However, my classmates and every other person on the ground was laughing out loud.

    It was clueless but then I took a look at the say and my shoe was flying off in the sky like a misguided missile.

    I had no idea that my shoelaces were not tied up. I became a butt of the joke in the entire playground. It was embarrassing as well as a funny experience.

    I realized that football is not my cup of tea.

    I also tried cricket but almost gave up when I got injured during a match. However, my friends encouraged me to keep up with the game. I played for a number of other matches but then I gave up again.

    I think sports is not my cup of tea.


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