Riding A Bus With 7th Grade Boys

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         October 31, 2016

                            

During the course of this school year I will have coached three middle school athletic teams- a 7th Grade football team and two 8th Grade basketball teams. Some who may be reading this might be thinking I’m crazy, but my response is…what a hoot! I receive so much writing material from coaching middle school kids. They never cease to amaze me…and, ironic as it may sound, teach me!

Last week our 7th and 8th Grade basketball teams had about a 30 minute bus ride to an away game. The 8th Grade boys take control over the back few rows of the bus. It is their domain, their clubhouse! There is an invisible “Do Not Enter!” sign at about Row 10. The 7th Grade boys therefore take up residence in the front and middle sections, a safe two seats back from the coach, but close enough for me to hear their conversation.

I learned things!

First of all, 7th Grade boys jump from topic to topic like a game piece in a checker’s match. Here’s a snippet (Names have been changed):

“I hate math!

“Mr. _________ is mean!”

“He sends people to the office for just breathing!”

“Dude, I got a whiff of Emily Johnson breath after lunch. I got ill!”

“What did she have for lunch?”

“I think those garlic bread sticks and crap!”

“Dude, she said hi to me in the cafeteria and it was like her butt was saying hello!” (Chuckling and laughter. Butt and farting language is considered cool and 7th Grade boys feel obligated to laugh even if they don’t think it is that funny!)

“Dude, I can not eat the food they serve in the cafeteria!”

“I can’t wait for the new Chick-fil-a to open.”

“It won’t make any difference to us! We can’t leave school for lunch until we’re like 18!”

“I can’t wait until I’m 18 to have different food for lunch!”

“Dude, suck it up!”

“I’m getting a new puupy!”

“Sweet!”

“Dude, you’ll have to pick up all the poop!”

Laughter and chuckling!

With that conversation in mind, the second thing I learned is that 7th graders begin sentences with “Dude!” if they are about to make a statement that requires a hearing. “Dude” is the emphasizer! It signals to the gathered cluster that what the boy is about to say is important to listen to…even if it isn’t!

“Dude, did you hear about Amy doing a face plant coming down the stairs today?”

“Dude, that was awesome!”

“Dude!”

“Dude!”

Sentiment is not a big thing with 7th Grade boys, especially if it is related to klutziness or the unexpected.

The third thing I learned is that 7th Grade boys have lost all understanding of “inside voice, outside voice.” You know what I’m talking about? Volume control! The conversation will be going along in a normal way and someone will erupt like a Hawaiian volcano in jet engine level volume. They have no concept of how their voices can enter the radar screen of annoying.

And yet their youthfulness is their gift, their stress reliever. I’m sitting in row two thinking about the game that is looming on the horizon, getting my mind right, thinking about player rotations and offensive principles…and they are thinking about how does the chocolate chewy part get  inside a grape-flavored Tootsie Roll Pop?

There’s something…pure and simple about that, something that I probably need to lean towards.

Dude!

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Humor, Parenting, Story, Teamwork, Uncategorized, Youth

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