They stand winding their fingers together waiting for something to happen, for a ball to be thrown at them so that they can go up and play with the competitive boys. Only, as soon as a ball comes their way it is taken from them by the competitive boys they want so much to play with. They mutter to themselves, still dedicated to not caring. They stand where they don’t want to be, waiting, waiting for something to happen, to be given the opportunity to play with the competitive boys.
The competitive boys grin, and laugh, and joke, and they play. As the game continues it becomes apparent that the competitive boys are not competitive at all. They play the way that lions do, wrestling, not to win, but to socialise. They do not talk, but they communicate. They gesture wildly at one another and throw the balls to others to show friendship, they embrace each other lightly when victory is achieved, but the other side does the same even in loss.
They begin equal, the two teams, but the numbers of one diminish and diminish again until the competitive boys are standing, jostled, against the wall and the insecure girls are left with the opportunity they have been waiting for. They do not take it. They remain the same, huddling like penguins and looking hopefully at the competitive boys who stand at the wall, roughly urging them on. The insecure girls don’t do anything, they hug the back wall and the other team finishes the game.
The competitive boys on the wall watch the balls go back and forth, yelling and demanding and instructing and when they are done they stand, grinning and excited, waiting for the game to begin again. They jump up at the basketball hoop, showing that they can.
The teacher blows his whistle and the games begin again. He sees the insecure girls in their upset little huddles, but he doesn’t comment. They’d be horrified if he did. He wants to play with the competitive boys, but instead he blows his whistle and yells things.
When the games are done the competitive boys file sadly into the change rooms and the girls wait for them to come back.
We will all be back here tomorrow.