I have been knocked out thrice in my life and none of them were fun. The first was when I was sparring with a black-belt friend of mine, a second in a bike accident and the third while teaching kindergarten.
I’m guessing most of you have done the math on the black-belt-friend knockout and bike accident, so I’ll describe what happened that day I was “teaching” kindergarten.
It was 1998, a beautiful Spring day, and my second year teaching kindergarten. I was teaching in Henrico County which at the time had half-day kindergartens. You would get a group in the morning, they would go home around mid-day, and then the second group would arrive. It was neat because the classes tended to be small and you really got to know the kids.
I was the lone guy with three amazing, smart, young women who took pity on me and taught me how to be a passable kindergarten teacher. We took turns going out for recess; two classes at a time. “Alexa” was my teacher-team partner. Since it was the first gorgeous Spring day, we grabbed some “grown-up” chairs in preparation for an extended recess. My only grown-up chair was my office rolling chair so I rolled it out and took a seat to watch the munchkins run wild. The sun felt great and Alexa took post on the opposite side of playground.
There was a small blacktopped decline going down to the basketball court from where I sat. Well….I had a chair that could roll and there was the decline calling my name, so I took off. It was GREAT fun rolling down that decline. It WAS great fun the first three times. The fourth time proved, shall we say…problematic. The kids saw what a great time I was having, so they decided to run behind and give me an extra boost down the decline. It was a good idea in theory.
What actually happened was on that fourth run, my rolling chair hit a seam in the blacktop walkway. This caused the chair to pivot around backwards, and fall over; slamming me and my giant head onto the blacktop.
I opened my eyes to the bluest sky I had ever seen, and the sound of 5-6 year-olds fleeing the scene. Alexa was screaming, “The fool has finally killed himself. The FOOL has finally killed himself!!” She helped me sit up, and I told her I was fine but I wasn’t completely fine. I tried to pick the chair up from my sitting position but my fingers wouldn’t work. I had to pinch the chair in between the back of my hands like they were flippers to get it upright. Luckily it was the end of the day and I was able to get the kids packed up and on the bus.
Afterwards we had a wedding shower in the library and I remember somebody bringing me cake but my fingers still were not working. I had to pick the fork up with my flipper hands and try to eat the cake while my “teammates” were snorting and laughing at me.
What I didn’t know was that because the playground was situated near where the building was in a kind of u-shape, half of the other teachers had seen my crash. The news made it to my long-suffering principal, Herb Monroe, who insisted I go to the doctor and get a brain scan and bring him proof that I had one (he said this while he was doubled over laughing).