Our Readers Write: Sports, Girls, ADD & My First Love Ever

Ok, of late all I’ve been doing is writing about sports events exclusively. It’s time to throw in a chick flick.

As I have a great long-term memory, I will be reflecting back to second grade. I can’t tell you what happened a week ago, but read on, I’ll be going into detail about my life in Converse Street School’s second grade.

Elementary school to me was all about showing off to girls. If you could kick a ball over the fence during a recess game of kickball, dive out of the way of a thrown ball during a game of bombardment (Tougher form of dodge ball) or climb a rope to the ceiling during Gym (PE) class, the girls always watched in admiration.

Don’t kid yourself, they were!! Some girls were bold enough to walk up to you and compliment you. Others just gave you “the eye.” A few would try to get your attention by being mean to you, which, in elementary school was pretty much a standard way to show interest in the opposite sex. I have to admit I didn’t figure that strategy out until I was almost in college. I still don’t understand that one. I guess I went 12 years thinking some girls had a genuine dislike for me when they actually might have been trying to tell me they like me.

Man, I was so dense!

But I digress. There was one girl in second grade who was such a “cool customer.” She was a good athlete as evidenced by her having a better arm than most of the guys. Her name was Barbara Garlick and we sat next to each other in class. This was a special second grader. Looking back, I wonder how someone so young could be so mature and be associated with me at the same time.

I was probably like a lot of you in that I always anticipated recess and gym class. Not like a lot of you, I would be in my chair wiggling around, having a difficult time staying still. I’ll admit it, I was Attention Deficit Disorder. Now, along with this they have added Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Clever, don’t you think? Like one is different than the other or something. Yeah, I was ADD and I was hyperactive. You know what my answer is to people who ask if I am ADD or ADHD? Whatever!

Back then, it wasn’t a well known term. For kids that had it, it was called “he’s nuts.” However, when gym class came around I was in my element and “he’s nuts” ceased to exist. Recess and gym class was where I excelled in life. Let’s face it, back then the girls weren’t saying about guys, “Hey, let’s get to know that guy…he’s got tremendous comprehension skills.” No! They were impressed with athletic ability.

This is how Barbara and I started taking a liking to each other. Seeing as she was a good athlete, we had our own mutual admiration society going on. Her mom was so cool she would take Barbara to my baseball games. In turn, my mom would take me to her swim meets.

I’m not sure about second graders nowadays, but back then this type of boy-girl activity didn’t happen much. We were actually boyfriend/girlfriend.

Barbara was a calm, steadying force for me. This was at the onset of my ADD, and I was lucky she and I had sports in common, because we wouldn’t have found each other.

I won’t go into my ADD issues any further other than to say I wish all kids with attention span difficulties at a young age could have a friend like I had in Barbara.

Towards the end of second grade, Barbara’s dad got a job far away from Massachusetts and she was gone forever. I cried like a baby, staring at my bedroom ceiling thinking about what might have been.

You see, back at that age without all of this technology, if someone moved out of state they were gone forever. Out of sight, out of mind. I was forced to get over her and I did so fairly quickly.

I wish that kind of resiliency extended past second grade.

Some might say showing public emotion might be unfashionable for a grown man. However, if I ran into Barbara Garlick today, I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t shed a tear. Sorry honey, it’s a guy thing so I would have to hug her. She meant as much to me then as you mean to me now.

I am so lucky in that athletics introduced me to my first love and my last love – forever.

You know, some things never change. When I was 7 years old, all I could think about was sports and girls.

I’m not ashamed to say – I still think that way at the age of 55.

– Submitted by Doug Sarant, Longmeadow News Reader. This is an opinion piece, and the views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Longmeadow News or its staff. Opposing viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged. Email for more information.