Not far from shore, Paige Fraser ‘22, Lukas Schmidt ’22 and I were throwing a rugby ball and chatting while enjoying a glorious post-rugby-tournament day on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The water was warm, the sky a gorgeous blue, the ocean breeze gentle. It was heavenly. A perfect moment.
At which point Paige said, “Mr. Seagram, you should write about this in the newsletter!”
I had to laugh. Perhaps for different reasons, but I had been thinking the same thing. While there is all sorts of behavioural science behind the benefits of throwing a ball (eye-hand coordination, fitness and muscle development, learning how to share and follow rules and engage in collaborative play, etc.). I have always cherished games of catch for reasons people don’t talk about. To me, it is a form of communication between people. It is a tactile language. It requires physical dexterity of course, but it requires emotional dexterity too. It requires you to think of the other person’s needs and abilities.
A game of catch with my daughter or son is often an opportunity to talk. About anything. No matter the object (football, frisbee, hacky-sac…) being thrown, having a focus on something external breaks the ice on internal things.
Playing catch is also an invitation. It is a silent way of saying “I want to be with you.” Thus, whether it is a big group throwing a ball around, or two people playing catch, it is emotionally cozy. It feels safe and warm.
This is one reason why I was so impressed by Carolina Herrera ‘22 during Sunday’s day at the beach. There was a moment when it seemed that all 25 students were out in the water throwing a ball around. Laughter and excitement, happy sounds wafted ashore on the breeze. At one point, Carolina noticed a teenage girl sitting alone with her parents and invited her to join in. As they walked out to where the others were, a group formed around them, and they all started throwing a football around and chatting. Carolina’s invitation was a generous gesture of inclusion.
Thoughtful moments like these make me feel good about our School and our students. And for sure, being included in a game of catch with Paige and Lukas makes me feel good too.