Yard Scars was originally posted in 2019. My kids are older with two in college and one a rising senior in high school. However, with the arrival of summer, the green grassy palette is ready to be scarred.
With every skinned knee and childhood scar, there is usually a glowing or harrowing story attached. Kid scars are like badges of honor or kid tattoos. Proof we played. Proof we fell and proof we got up and tried again and again.
Over the years our yard has also been the victim of scars. One glance and you can see where the grass slowly turned to dust where tackles were made, Wiffle balls pitched, and three-point shots mastered. Our once green lawn is now riddled with what I now proudly call YARD SCARS and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s why…
About five years ago when my kids were 8, 10, and 11 years old, they played football in our front yard with friends. Their field was about 25 yards long by 15 yards wide with our house as one sideline and a sidewalk on the other. Not ideal for most, but perfect for them. After playing night after night, our yard was riddled with yard scars.
As parents, we all know time passes quickly as our children grow up, so one would think to witness my kids playing hard, having a blast with friends, and problem-solving for hours would be calming and joyful. However, at the time, I was completely stressed out about our lawn’s appearance. Every bare spot worn out by dives and sprints was all I could see.
I slowly felt myself evolve into the cranky, old Mr. Shannon from my hometown. This was a neighbor who took pride in his yard. Every week, he manicured his baseball field size lawn as if prepping for the Masters. But instead of golfers showing up my friends and I did, merely to retrieve a few hundred stray passes that flew over his fence.
Back in the ’70s, the quality of your lawn defined your character as a homeowner and emphasized you were a good neighbor. Mr. Shannon was no exception. He would chase us off his yard as soon as our Pro-Keds broke a blade of his grass. So, using Mr. Shannon as a reference point for yard maintenance, I come by the stress honestly.
I also take pride in our landscaping but with all that football playing the once beautiful grass gradually faded from deep green to yellow, to tan, to just plain dirt.
Then a little thing I like to call perspective shook me back into reality.
God bless my wife. She had to talk me off the ledge. She REGULARLY reminded me we are fortunate to have active kids with friends who want to play OUTSIDE and at our house. If yard scars were our biggest problem, then consider us lucky. Then she’d add that line, as if reading from an empty nest script, “Imagine in five years when our lawn will be that boring, unscathed green …we’ll miss our scarred-up yard soon enough.”
She was right. Perspective.
Five years later, my lawn looks crappier than ever and I couldn’t be more thankful! I still take the same pride in mowing, weeding, edging, and blowing, but in a time when digital devices can often dominate a child’s day, my kids continue to appreciate playing outside. As a result, there are yard scars of different sizes, shapes, and levels of severity.
There’s a large triangular-shaped scar under our basketball hoop from the hours of shooting games they periodically play. Two of my favorite scars are the oval-shaped pitching mound and the sunken and severely bare batter’s box from countless innings of Wiffle ball. First, second and third bases are also scarred so there’s no longer a need to drop Frisbees or sweatshirts as bases.
Above: Pitcher’s mound, batter’s box, and first base in our backyard.
Have you ever set up a badminton court in your backyard? If not prepare yourself for the utter destruction of nearly every blade of grass within the rectangular boundary. And if you play after a light to moderate rain, yard scars can quickly become a mud pit! AWESOME!
As I watch our children grow up and move away too quickly, here’s what I’ve learned. Enjoy the yard scars now, the grass will grow back.
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Noodle fitness creations is a challenge I often use at the beginning of the year, usually as an instant activity. I like to randomly partner up students reminding them about the importance of being able to work with each and every classmate.
This part of the challenge can last anywhere from 5-10 minutes. During this time I’ll filter around the gym seeking cooperation and active engagement. I’ll ask each pair about their creations. Specifically, which body parts their exercises are targeting. The next part of the challenge involves sharing. Each set of partners is tasked with teaching their best creations to another pair and vice versa.
I always enjoy watching the creative minds of my students in action. Each time I present an activity like noodle fitness creations, it’s inevitable that I’ll see something new. For this reason, I will often charge my students will similar challenges with vague guidelines, forcing them to combine their creative juices. Never underestimate the minds of our students!
Do you like noodle activities? Check these out…
Field Day season is one of the most exciting times of the year for students, faculty, and even parents. However, it can also be extremely stressful for physical education teachers. Introducing a theme, constantly checking the weather radar, gathering equipment, making teams, and of course, organizing age-appropriate activities that are fun and engaging are a few of the many logistical considerations that can wreak havoc on a PE teacher’s psyche. Below are three exciting relays that we incorporate each year that are always student and faculty favorites. Hopefully, they can alleviate a bit of your stress. All three relays can be done outside and/or inside, which makes them perfect for a rain plan.
LAY AN EGG RELAY
Prior to the relay, we have a flash mob-style CHICKEN DANCE. Picture the whole school on the field dancing away. “I don’t wanna be a chicken, I don’t wanna be a duck, so I shake my back (Clap Clap Clap).”
Then the relay begins with students still pretending to be chickens.
CATTLE ROUNDUP RELAY
We kick off the cattle roundup relay with another flash mob. This time it’s the COTTON EYE JOE. Again the entire school joins in on the dance. The Cotton Eye Joe is one of the dances we teach in PE during the school year.
All you need for the cattle roundup is a hula hoop, a large cone, and a vivid imagination. We set the scene by telling students we on a ranch and each of us are cowboys and cowgirls. “Can I get a YEE HAW?” We need to hop on our horses to round up the cattle with our lassos.
STATUE OF LIBERTY RELAY
A plunger and a small ball are all you’ll need for this relay. We use a 6-inch gator ball.
Unlike typical relay races where the relay ends when the last person completes the particular challenge, our relays last about 3 minutes. This gives each student plenty of repetitions. There is a teacher or parent at the end of each lane with a clipboard to tally each repetition or point earned.