Pull the ball and it would land in the neighbor’s backyard. During street football, the braver ones among us would take to the small strip of grass between sidewalk and street where for a brief moment, tackle, not touch, was the rule. In fact, we made our own rules.
Get knocked down by your friend’s older brother? Fall into the snowbank going for a layup, only to have your face nudged further into the snow? Whatever the issue, the last thing we would ever think to do would be to tell our parents. That would be an invasion of our privacy. This was our world. Our time.
And this has made me think: where are the spaces for young kids to play, uniform-less, without adults telling them how to play? Imagine if ten parents, say totaling 14 children, from the ages of 8 to 12, all dropped off their kids at the baseball diamond at 5:00. And then left. Maybe they live nearby. Maybe there is a Starbucks. It is the 21st century, so there are some cell phones to call parents just in case. But the important thing is that parents are not there.
And what do the kids do? I don’t know. I am an adult. I am not there. I just pick up my kids. I may ask did you have fun? but nothing more. And maybe they will answer. And maybe they will describe a good play they made. Or maybe they will talk about the one kid who was being a jerk. Or maybe, if I am lucky, they will say nothing at all. They will just smile.
I'm Michael Perry and that's my perspective.