Adventures from Back of Beyond

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Big Snowball Fight

I attended grade school at Stewart School on the campus of the University of Utah.

Going to elementary school at a major public university was a blast. Just being on the same campus with the big kids was special.

The University administration packed Stewart with their best teachers, and let their student teachers learn under them. On us. We learned the new math before it was new. Used "teaching machines" way before personal computers were invented. Our P.E. teacher, even in primary school, had a Ph.D. We started French in the third grade. Our music teacher taught us superb, intricate multi-part harmonies to classic American songs. I still remember them today.

And on campus, we had no borders, no lines, no restrictions. At recess, we could flat-out go wherever we wanted.

So, during the snowy winters at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, sometimes big snowball fights would develop and spread out on campus during recess. This was a guy thing. The girls pretty much stayed inside on snowy days. One big snowball fight in particular, during fourth grade, was remarkable.

In a team snowball fight, one of the very best targets to aim for is the neck. That's because you have good chance of getting the cold and wet snow uncomfortably down into your target's shirt. Maybe make him have to go in early. A desirable shot we all went for.

On this particular day, one of my classmates, let's call him Ron, apparently had one too many snowballs down the neck into his shirt. And it got to him. Right in the middle of the action he stopped and loudly proclaimed to everyone on both sides, "No more snowballs to the neck! If I get one more, that's it!"

That sort of bothered me. Ron was one of the bigger boys, and quite capable of taking care of himself. I mean after all, what's fair is fair, and who was he to just make up this rule and impose it on everyone.

I was standing way out in what might be called left field at the time. Just on a whim, right after he proclaimed no more to the neck, while everyone was quiet and just watching this outburst, I launched a large one at him.

I remember having to arc it real high because I was so far away. I couldn't reach him on a more or less straight trajectory.

I let it fly and watched. The snowball seemed to stay up in the air a long time. Then it hit.

A direct hit, right exactly on little Ronnie's neck. A lucky shot. Everybody was watching Ron, and everybody saw this perfect hit.

Ron exploded. His whole body shook. This was the straw that apparently broke the camel's back. Ron flipped out.

I don't remember exactly what happened next, because I took off. And I had a big head start. I don't know if Ron ever knew who launched that little missile, but I knew he wouldn't catch me.

What I did see out of the corner of my eye was Paul, the toughest kid in class at that time (not the biggest, just generally acknowledged as the toughest), take Ron down as he went ballistic. Tackled him. After that I was long gone.

Ron was late getting back to class after that recess. He was muddy and disheveled, hair messed up. I remember he had some dirt smudged on his upper lip, resembling ever so slightly a small version of Adolph Hitler.

He apologized for being late. I observed quietly, said nothing. Then our teacher, Mrs. Hagerman, took Ron to the office. He didn't come back at all to class that day.


  • one of my favorite stories of all time :)

    By Anonymous Kara, at 6:22 PM  

  • Mine too. Great story.

    By Blogger Max, at 4:21 PM  

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