In a normal given year, driving down the street and seeing a group of children playing a game of kickball wouldn’t look out of the ordinary.
In fact, it would probably appear too ordinary to stand out.
Friday at the end of Williamsburg Avenue in the Twin Oaks neighborhood in Napoleon, however, wasn’t quite your typical game of kickball.
Addison Thompson, Hannah Miller and Meredith Bostelman decided they’d had enough of being inside the house during the COVID-19-related shutdowns, so they put their heads together and came up with an idea — organize a field day for their friends in their neighborhood.
“We thought since we wouldn’t have field day for school, we could just do it with the whole neighborhood instead,” Thompson said. “It’s been nice enough outside, so we wanted to do something that we could do outside with everyone.”
“We knew there were enough people that would want to do it,” Miller added.
The girls put the event together with the hopes of returning their neighborhood to some of the seemingly basic staples of summer, like playing games with your neighbors and enjoying popsicles after the contests have wrapped up.
For one afternoon, at least, normal returned to Williamsburg Avenue.
With roughly 19 participants, ranging from kindergarten to seventh grade, competing in everything from kickball to knockout to sponge races, the event required some advanced planning on the part of its organizers.
“They’d probably been working on putting this together for about two weeks,” Addison’s father Shawn Thompson said. “There are a lot of kids who all live on this street, and they just wanted to bring them all together.”
The events took place at the end of the street, with kickball being played on a vacant lot which was mowed by some of the fathers on the street and painted for the game.
There were buckets set up for sponge races, a game that involves transporting water from one bucket at the top of a driveway to an empty bucket at the bottom, using only a sponge to absorb water from the first bucket and deposit into the second.
There was a basketball hoop for knockout and parents watching it all unfold. There were kids laughing as they ran around in the grass. There were sports being played.
There was, for a few hours, summer as it should be. No mention of a pandemic. No worries of the uncertainty that lies ahead. Just, summer.
“It was really refreshing,” Bostelman said. “It’s nice to get out of the house and actually do things with other people. It was fun.”
The kickball game ended with a score of 13-12. Which team won didn’t matter. Which team lost didn’t matter. It wasn’t important, because Miller summed it up perfectly.
“I’m just happy to be outside with my friends.”