There are words that bring to mind my fight to bring freedom to some among mankind. Words are often spoken of bullies, but little more is heard. While I was in sixth grade my parents got divorced. Because of decisions made, I moved with my father to the city. And with these new circumstances came new situations that still affect me and possibly the world to this day. A new school, a different home, and a new life awaited me there in that city.
One of the biggest differences came from attending a new school. The new school I attended was very large to me. I witnessed many different views of life while attending this school; one aspect was augmented by a game that was played on the playground. Very similar to ‘King of the Mountain’ was ‘King of the Gym.’ Rumors about this game were heard during my time in the cafeteria. One of the comments repeatedly mentioned was, “She is the King, and no one can beat her.” My limited attention on this unknown aspect led me to believe that ‘the King’ was not a very nice person.
Eventually there was a witnessing of what the rumors had shared. On a nice day, after about 5 months in my new school, we sixth graders were allowed out on the playground. There was a gym raised off the ground by about six feet. It was shaped with rungs running parallels up and straight across eight rungs one and a half feet then down. One of my classmates was hanging off the gym exclaiming, “I am King of the Mountain, no one can bring me down.”
While she was up there another female student, I’ll call her Melissa, who had been playing on the gym, turned to face her. For some unknown reason ‘the King’ seemed to attack the Melissa girl with her legs. Melissa kept saying, “Just let me go, I do not want to play.” Eventually Melissa was knocked to the ground; she fell very hard knocking her face against the metal gym as she fell.
After she started crying, ‘the King’ glared at Melissa and said, “Stop being such a baby!”
Melissa lifted up her face and I noticed her split and bleeding lip. Some of the students helped lift Melissa out of the dirt that layered the playground. Some even took the time to pat the dust off her clothes.
Through these actions, I noticed that the size of the crowd had grown, but nobody said a word. There was a profound expectant silence in the yard as everyone seemed to be waiting for what ‘the King’ would say next.
My indignation had grown throughout while witnessing this experience. ‘The King’ had no right to treat another human being this way. I was determined that she would not continue to act like that. So I approached the gym.
After looking at Melissa, I looked at ‘the King’ and said, “I’m next!”
I didn’t wait for her to say anything; I silently with determination started climbing the bars. Once I had reached the top our confrontation started.
‘The King’ started bragging to the crowd about how she would show me, whose who. I was determined not to speak out, thinking “actions speak loader than words.” We started to tangle, fighting to get our legs around one another, so as to pull the other off the bars. After struggling for a period of time, my hands started slipping, but ‘the King’ kept calling me names and saying things about my family. I do not remember what she said, but I remember feeling that this is wrong; no one should have the right to treat another person like this. I will not give up; I will not let her win!
Eventually I wrangled her to the ground. I dropped down beside ‘The King’ and following that I pointed to Melissa and said, “Now apologize.”
‘The King’ looked at me surprised, and said, “What?”
Again I pointed to Melissa, who had taken a small step forward out of the crowd, and in a sterner tone of voice, while trembling with built up adrenalin, said, “Now apologize,” and after shaking my finger while pointing, “to her!”
‘The King’ turned to Melissa and apologized sheepishly. And I walked away from the gym and the students gathered there.
While walking away many pats were received on my shoulders along with praise for my actions. One person asked me, “Why did you do that?”
And I replied, “I hate bullies,” in an expressively repressive tone.
When I reflect, I see that there was more than one bully on that playground. Every student that stood around and witnessed the events but didn’t stand against the bully actually stood as a bully. A bully only rises when there are shoulders to stand on. Listen and learn to stand tall and fight bullies all. This story shared gives witness to how I will lead through college and into the world.
- Safety with Playground Signs: An Overview (playgroundsigns.com)
- Back-to-School Bully Busting – A Safety Guide for Parents by SimpliSafe Home Security (simplisafe.com)