Tag is a complicated game in elementary school. It allows you to show your running prowess, your speed, your agility, and even your climbing skills. It’s fun and everyone knows how to play it. But it has a dark side. Nobody ever wants to be “It.” If you’re not athletic enough, you’ll be “It’ for the entirety of recess. Being “It” comes with a sense of shame, which only gets worse with each passing moment. Tag creates social fissions in an elementary school class. Jimmy was “It” the entire time! Haha, loser. Betty is so fast she never gets tagged! All hail Betty! Tag isn’t a school yard game, it’s a social experiment. Only the strongest survive.
Don’t even get me started on the dreaded “times.” Used as a socially acceptable way to avoid being tagged, “times” is called out by the weak when they are cornered or vulnerable. Under the guise of tying shoes, fixing hair, or having to get a drink, “times” is a safe word that creates an invisible force field bubble around that person.
My point is, the rules of Tag are flawed. I was good at Tag in elementary school. I prided myself on my tagging abilities. Then one day in May 2004, my world was shattered.
This is an entry from my angel Hello Kitty diary that I wrote when I was in the third grade, age 9. Be warned, it’s emotional.
“Date May 20, 2004
Today was on of the worst days of my life. First at recess I couldn’t tag anybody because they kept saying times when I got close to them so I told them it wasn’t fair. [Name scratched out] said that her ankle hurt but she was on top of the red equipment and that equipment is high. [Illegible] [name scratched out] and [name scratched out] were in back of me at lighn”
Note: I’m not sure why the names were scratched out. My best guess is that a day later I made up with them and felt bad about writing such mean things about them in my private diary. Heaven forbid they ever find it and read it!