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Official Article

Retro Recess Rowdiness


Recess was obviously every child’s favorite “subject” in school, but in my experience, it was also the most dangerous. I witnessed quite a few disturbing incidents during my elementary school years and I’m sure you have some stories to tell. So hop on the Hoju School Bus and let’s get into Retro Recess Rowdiness.

Here’s Mud In Your Eye


Though I wasn’t officially in a gang during Elementary School (or ever) my classmates and I unknowingly modeled ourselves after the Jets and Sharks from West Side Story for a brief period during 3rd grade. Every day at recess, 10 of us would meet on the big grass field by the handball courts and assemble ourselves into teams. At the word “Fight” we would all charge each other like the villains and heroes in the X-Men animated series opening credits and begin to battle each other.


We always had one friend assigned to watch out for the “Yard Moms” who patrolled the playground and would inevitably put an end to our pretty intense, but agreed upon rumbles. Well one day we took things a little too far and someone threw a big pile of dirt in a kid named Ben’s eye. Instantly he started screaming and crying, which caught the attention of a Yard Mom who put an end to our violent pastime for good. I’m happy to report that Ben made a full recovery and went on to give me a second-hand Nintendo game called Legendary Wings for my birthday that year. What a guy.

The Monkey Bars Incident


Let’s face it, the basic use of playground equipment gets boring after a while. That’s why kids very quickly opt for climbing up the slide, jumping off the swings or in this case, climbing across the top side of the monkey bars. I’ll never forget the day Tyler decided to show how rad he was by crawling across the metal grid in an action that was less monkey like and more akin to a sleepy Opossum who had gotten himself into a predicament.


Soon Tyler came crashing down hands first, landing in a most awkward position. The broken forearm was apparent immediately and we could see the bone trying to poke out through the skin. I just remember him crying on the blacktop and clutching his arm as we all slowly backed away with plans to return to our classrooms. The image I have in my mind is a view from the window of my class, hearing his lonely wails echoing through the empty playground as one of the aforementioned “Yard Moms” tried to console him until he was finally taken away in an ambulance. That’s the kind of thing you can’t forget.

Graphite Shiv


Do you remember that kid that everybody was sure would grow up to be a criminal? You probably called them a psycho or crazy. Sometimes those kids didn’t wait for adulthood to reach their potential. This is incident from 5th grade is one that I actually did not witness firsthand, instead a friend walked me through the events step by step during recess, as if we were filming a news report to show the scene of the crime.


Apparently before school had started, Robert and a wussy kid named Chris had gotten into an argument over the use of a particular set of swings. After Chris tried to walk away, Robert grabbed a No. 2 pencil from his backpack and stabbed Chris in the leg. He gloated over his victory, then took off. The fact that neither Chris, nor Robert were in class that day seemed to corroborate the story.


The craziest part was that the main discussion on the playground was not the act of stabbing itself, but whether or not Chris was going to get “Lead Poisoning” from the broken end of the pencil lodged in his leg. After 20 minutes of deliberation some know-it-all made the declaration that pencil lead is actually graphite and all of our elementary school speculation was blown to bits. 

Parking Lot of Doom

I’ve saved the most gruesome for last, so strap in tight. Being a chubby tween was rough on me, so I can’t imagine how that was amplified for traditionally more sensitive girls of a certain girth. One such classmate of mine was Brittany Z. who in an ironic twist, had a male tormentor who was a walking skeleton. Erik H. resembled Balki from Perfect Strangers and it was well established that he was the most annoying kid in school. The little pip-squeak knew of his reputation, so his revenge was to turn up the volume on his juvenile antics.



One person Erik would not leave alone was Brittany Z., which was really a dangerous game considering her height and weight advantage. The little runt was constantly calling attention to her above average height, curvy figure and freckled face. Well one day in music class Erik went too far by making a comment about her terrible singing voice and the next morning he paid the price. 


I remember walking up to my classroom before the bell rang to see Erik being escorted away by a teacher who was covering his nose as the boy sobbed in pain. It was revealed to me that Erik’s onslaught of insults had led to Brittany grabbing him by the back of the neck and slamming his face into a concrete parking barrier in the adjacent parking lot, breaking his rather pronounced schnozzola. For the next 3 months Erik had a bandaged splint on his nose as it healed and you better believe that he kept his mouth shut. Lesson Learned? Don’t mess with big girls.

So what kind of craziness did you witness during recess? Were you the cause of it or an innocent observer?

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Vaporman87 Posted on Jan 06, 2017 at 05:00 PM

Another of my favorites that I'm glad has made the journey back to the site. So much about this I relate to.

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