Article by Curtis Beaird
Photography by Curtis and Norma Beaird
Oh, to be chosen. I never knew why, but I always knew who would be picked to choose the recess softball teams. It was not me. Two students, the same two, were teacher-chosen for the coveted roll of Team Captains.
I never quiet grasped the process that Mrs. Daniels used to decide on her pair of playground stars. But, the power she bestowed, seemed to this twelve-year-old, ominous in its reach, almost godlike in its power. Why Frank and John Paul got the nod was forever a mystery to me.
There were a few things this pair did make crystal clear. They had the power. They both understood the power. They wore their status like a coat of divinity.
They were the Chosen Choosers, and knew it.
The rest of us? Well, we just waited. Probably, like you waited.
More than likely, like untold numbers of us, who to this day, are still waiting.
Remember? Do you remember that less than uplifting feeling of being left out from the beginning? Hanging on the edge of permanent relegation, to the ranks of the overlooked, the left out, the dare I say it, the unworthy? Remember?
I stood there. What other choice did I have? Mrs Daniels looked like the tallest person in the world wearing those black high heels. So, I stood there looking at Frank, then at John Paul, hoping to hear those magic words.
The words that would set me free from the icy feeling of isolation. The words that would allow me to move from the outside to the inside.
I, like you, on one foot, then the other........waited.
After a few rounds of that less than fun schoolyard drafting process, and just before I was crushed by the feeling of "never-going-to-be-chosen", I heard the words. The magic words.......my name. "Curtis" followed by the command of acceptance, "I'll take you."
John Paul set me free from the prison of doubt. He spared me the status of leftover. I belonged. I was in. I wasn't picked last either. Next to last, but not last.
The glimmer of joy I was trying to coax into a glow faded fast. I was dispatched to right field. In the sixth grade, that position was about as far from the action as you could get, unless when it was my team's turn to bat. There, I found myself in the same slot as the Chosen Chooser had selected me, next to last.
Recess had a way of ending before I got a turn at bat. I could go days without having a chance at taking a swing at the ball. Why, you ask? Because Mrs Daniels picked her Chosen Choosers and put us through the drafting process everyday. Shuffling from team to team was a constant for those of us in the consolation section of the team.
Those experiences were not wasted on me. I learned. No, I didn't learn to play better ball so I could get picked sooner by a Chosen Chooser. No, I didn't learn to be leery of tall women in high heels. No, I didn't learn that life was unfair. It took awhile, but I did learn.
What I discovered was a very simple lesson. If I was going to be a first round draft choice I needed to pick myself. I realized that waiting to get the nod from someone else was at best, boring, always a constant aggravation, and a catastrophic waste of time.
I decided, that if I wanted to be at the head of the line,
I needed to form the line.
Waiting for a Mrs. Daniels takes too long.........and it may never happen.
Who knows, you may not like the Chosen Choosers.
Galatians 3:26 - 29 (King James Version)
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Copyright 2013, Curtis Beaird. All rights reserved.