Schlurrrrp! Nathan Howard, the 6-year-old from Bridgewater Connecticut, sucked down the last of his juice box on that fateful day last March. Nap time was over and he was fueled up and ready to go. “Do you want to play blocks with me?” Amanda asked him. But Nate wasn’t interested. He had already played with the blocks this morning, and the firetrucks too. Nope, now it was time to play tag, the ultimate playground game. What Nate didn’t know was that this game would be different.
As he approached the jungle gym, the other kids were already starting to choose who would be “it”. Nate tightened the Velcro on his shoes and put his foot in the circle. “Bubble-gum, bubble-gum, in the sink…” Kelly chanted, “and you are IT!” She landed on Jackson and it was game on!
Nate ran as fast as he could to the top of the monkey bars. Jackson was fast, the fastest boy on the playground, at least if you don’t count Ben, but Ben has really good shoes. Anyways, Jackson wasn’t much of a climber, so Nate knew he had a chance as long as he was up high, so he climbed higher than even his dad could reach and his dad is really tall. His strategy didn’t pay off. Jackson caught Aidan and he was a really good climber, so Nate found himself in a precarious situation. Before he could climb down, he was already tagged, and no, there were no tag-backs.
From here it went downhill fast, Nate struggled to catch his playmates, but couldn’t reach any of them. It’s probably because his light up shoes weren’t working and that always makes him faster and they didn’t even have the right granola bars for lunch, they only had the raisin ones. Whatever the reason, recess had ended and Nate was still “it”. What he didn’t know was how long that would last.
That night, Nate’s mom told him there was no school tomorrow, news that would typically thrill him. But Nate was not excited. That meant he was still “it”. Eager to return to the playground and tag someone else, Nate waited for months for an opportunity. He even tried to call Jackson’s mom to have a playdate just so he could tag someone, but he wasn’t allowed. “Sweetie, you know the rules, even if you get to see your friends, you have to stay 6 feet away or you might get sick, so you couldn’t play tag anyways” his mother chided. “This is so dumb,” Nate said, before being told to watch his mouth unless he wanted his screen time taken away. “I heard Ben’s mom let him have a playdate and I heard he doesn’t even wear a mask when he goes shopping.” His frustration was palpable and frankly understandable for a kid who’s been “it” for over 6 months now, a record that looks like it won’t soon end.