Friday, September 4, 2009


When I worked at the bank, my coworkers were mostly young married women with preteen or teenage children. Most of the marriages had survived the seven year itch and were bogged down into daily sameness. There were some restless mamas there looking for a little change of pace. So we joined bank supported sports teams as a way to have a GNO (girls night out). We bowled, played volley ball and softball in bank sponsored leagues. At least 6 banks in the area also sponsored teams in these events so there was usually a even competition.

We were well into the volleyball season when this occurred. We were practicing in a school gymnasium located in a rather rough section of town. I really don't know if the league rented the gym or if it were donated. We were just grateful for a place to play. The husbands came for the games but left us on our own for practice.

The moon was not in the right phase for me to play (bad cramps) so I was resting my ovaries in the bleachers (too much information guys?) I was sitting with Beverly and her two grade school age children.

Practice was going well when the doors burst open and a group of high school girls entered noisily. I didn't count but it looked to be almost 20 of them. Did you ever notice how each upcoming generation seems taller than we were? We were older but they were bigger. The ball bounced close to them and the leader grabbed it and held it close to her. She wasn't about to give it up.

One of our girls, smiled and held her arms out to retrieve the ball which the leader flipped to another gang member. "This is our building . Get out." she snarled.

Still smiling, my friend walked up to the girl and politely said that we were in the middle of a game and if they would just wait till we were through, they were welcome to the floor then or we would be happy to play them in a game. I am convinced that if my friend had offered them a million bucks right then, the results would have been the same. They had not come for reason, just violence.

It all happened so quickly. Suddenly my sweet natured, rational friend was on the floor being kicked and the rest of the team were fending off blows. It was chaos. Beverly drew her kids close to her burying their faces in her chest.

Do you ever wonder how good you would be in a violent situation? Now normally this is a no-brainer job for the guys but sometimes they are not handy. I always thought I would be brave in an attack. Surely I would defend myself and the weak. I would staunch the wounds of the hurt, and I would leap into a rescue situation. The only problem with our grand ideas of our behavior in an emergency, is that until it is tested, we really-don't-know.

I found I had an overblown opinion of what my reaction to violence would be. Maybe I could staunch wounds when all is over, confident I could give you CPR if needed, but don't look for me when someone starts kicking you in the head. I just sat there in the bleachers, totally frozen. All my previous illusions of how I would be in crisis crumbled.

Fortunately, the fight ended abruptly without my help. A patrolman had seen the group of girls swarming the streets and had followed them to the gym. When they saw the uniform behind the shrill whistle, they scattered like cockroaches. He could only snag a slow one and she was working over his shins. They had just been looking for trouble that night and found it with us.

My friend who had tried to be the rational and gracious, suffered bruised ribs, purple legs, and had a nifty black eye. Almost all the rest of the team had bumps and bruises. I had a definitely reassessed opinion of myself and nary a scratch.

No, I don't feel guilty, definitely disappointed, but not guilty. I would love to be different but I am not. I am a pacifist and have accepted that. I would like to think that if the attack had carried on longer, that I would have come unglued from my seat and helped but there is little guarantee.

From then on, I told anyone interested that if they were ever subjected to violence, they could count on me NOT to help but I would be glad to GET help. We work with what we have. I'm content that we all can't be heroes. Someone has to leave the fort to summon the cavalry. That will be Patti.

Is there a hero in you?

We did go undefeated that year, if you don't count that practice session.. This picture was a hoot. Gloria on the right was suffering from the giggles and this was shot # seven by the news photographer. I am looking at her waiting for number seven crack up. She later said he did an Elvis lip curl each time he said "Smile" which cracked her up.

That is me in the middle looking like I am wearing the trophy for an ear bob. Can anyone say "Big Hair".


  1. Lord have mercy! Who knows what they would do? I hope at this stage I never get tested! I've got to many hurting joints! HA!

  2. I've heard of female gangs, but am fortunate to never have encountered them.

    I suppose my gang of high school girls friends may have acted like terrorists on occasion, but never inflicted bodily harm. We were a fluid bunch anyway. Our alliances seem to rotate between groups depending on our interests at any given time.

  3. Splendid post! I'm finding it to pinpoint what exactly I loved the most... " Someone has to leave the fort to summon the cavalry " .. so articulately put! Although I also pride on being bold, there have been several occasions when I have simply sat still . Later on in retrospect, one wonders why one did not tackle it this way or that way. That's the beauty of hindsight I suppose.

    You look like a real heart-breaker (the younger picture of you).

    Nice one from the memory lanes Patti! :)

  4. Pattie, You surprise me! I would have took you to be a "Bruiser"..
    A good post! Hope you are feeling better!

  5. Patti, you were SOOOOO pretty!!! I don't think that's big hair at all. I've seen much worse!

    I'm a pacifist too, and the only time I would resort to blows would be if someone attacked my children or grandchildren.

  6. Ugh..... I'm not sure what I'd do in a situation like that either. I'm not much of a fighter--but who knows????

    Glad your friend was okay--and that the team did well. Love the newspaper of you and your friends. NEAT!!!!

    Have a great weekend.

  7. I have often wondered what I would do in a situation like that. Fortunately, I have never been called upon in such a manner. I really don't know what I would do.

  8. It is an interesting question...I've never been tested under those kinds of circumstances, but I think I would be more like you than not. The only emergency situation I was ever in, my Godson, who was not even two years old at the time, was in the shallow end of the pool and it began to look like he was in real trouble...I noticed it before his mother and I ran and jumped in and rescued him....But I didn't feel personally at risk as you were in that Violent situation....That had to be really Horrific! And I do believe I would have felt frozen, too, in that situation.

  9. Carol,
    Me too, at least now with achy joints, I have an excuse. Hope you never have to find out.

    Ah ha--another gang member. Kidding, I am sure you never hurt anyone. You are too kind hearted.

    Thank you so much. I guess in hindsight, we are all capable of so much more. Thanks for the compliment--ah, to have wrinkle free flesh again.

    You guessed wrong that time. I am a super wuss. That stuff is for you guys to do. I'm right behind you--way behind. Feeling great, thanks.

    You are too kind, good thing it is an old photo.
    Wonder where all our muscles went from all that teasing of our hair. Can totally understand protecting your family.

    Hay you have a really tall guy to do that for you. Just relax and let George do it. No one messes with a tree.
    Thanks, you have a great weekend also.

    No one really knows till it happens and I hope you never have to find out.

    Wonderful that you were there and saw the need when no one else did. Lucky boy.
    I was once trained as a lifesaver though never got to use my skills.
    Think I could do that, just know violence is not in my resume and actually, it should never have to be part of anyones.

  10. I've often wondered what I would do in a situation like you were in. At this late stage in my life, probably about all I could do would be to whip out the cell phone and call 911. My problem, I only carry my cell phone in the car for emergencies. But hopefully if it was a rough part of town, I would have had it with me and turned on. I'm glad no one was hurt so badly they had to go to the hospital.

    Have a wonderful week-end.

  11. Welcome Patti to TNS. I have been to visit your husbands blog many times, now I shall visit you.
    As I was writing the story, I was thinking how much easier it would have been with a cell phone. Life might be more annoying with cell phones but they solve a lot of problems.
    Thank you so much for stopping by.

  12. I was so shocked with where this story went...was not expecting a fight...vebal maybe, but not physical...I would not have run to join in either...and that hair is not so big Patti...

  13. Yes, the hair is awesome, along with one crazy story. When humans pack up there is no animal more brutal. That situation could have been a lot more tragic.

  14. Wanda,
    I was shocked also, somehow as a woman, we expect better of ourselves. What happened, I would never have imagined possible. We live and learn.

    "When humans pack up there is no animal more brutal." Loved that phrase and is unfortunately so true. With out the cop appearing, it could have been soooo much worse. He was a beautiful man that night.

  15. OMG! Patti, I like to think that girls can behave with like! And certainly youth over age. That is one thing that has certainly made an impact..the younger generation is NOT taught to respect much but certainly not their elders!!

    And I have only seen violence like that once and it ripped me into pieces! It was two young boys (preteen) and they went at it. I could only tell my husband to STOP watching and go stop it! NOW.
    I also hate violence but also understand that there are times when it needs whatever firmness it takes to stop it at what ever level it on one or race against race, etc.
    Gotta go see if I can scurry a memory..and write it as interestingly

  16. Mmmm......Afte I read your post I thought about it the whole day. What would I do??? Truth is I don't know. I have been faced with many tough choices and have been surprised of my reaction. Thinking back on those times It seemed like another person stepped in and took charge.
    I think until that very second you would have no idea of what you are or are not capable of.

    Thanks for the made me think....alot!!!

  17. What a story! I am sure I would have stayed on the bleachers myself if only from the shock of it all. Glad your friends only suffered bruised bodies!
    Didn’t know you played volleyball. I used to play with a group of frat boys when I was in college. I had the time of my life as I was the only girl – oh what fun! Ahhhh…I think of those days often.
    I always enjoy seeing pictures of you when you were younger. You still have the same sweet, joyful smile. : )

  18. Wanda,
    Boy, me neither. Glad I am not the only one not wanting to jump into a fray. I don't feel so chicken now.

    I know, it is so hard to imagine what we will do. I have jumped into doing CPR once which surprised me. Like you said, it is like someone else takes over.
    Lets just hope you are never tested for a reaction to violence. It is a truly ugly thing.

    You know it could have been from the shock but I know violence appalls me so much that it is a wonder I love watching football so much.
    Weren't you lucky to play with all guys. Did they even let you hit the ball? I have played on coed softball teams before and the guys tend to get protective of the women. Gotta love them for that.

  19. boots,
    Welcome to TNS and thanks for commenting.
    I totally understand about violence and blame a lot of the disrespect for adults on family sitcoms. Each year the juveniles on the shows get more and more smart mouthed with their TV parents and everyone laughs.
    Sadly, stupidity is also cause for the reward of laughter. Hay, I am laughing along with everyone else at the clever writing, but can see how it would affect a young mind.
    Will check your site and looking forward to your memory trip.

  20. I've often wondered what I'd do in a situation like that but I'm pretty sure I'd freeze. I was unfortunately the victim of a sexual assualt many years ago and I found myself frozen, unable to scream, unable to move. It may have been the reaction that saved my life but it was also a surprise to me. One I had to work through afterward.

  21. Anon,
    I am so-very-sorry that you went through such an ordeal. I can not imagine what you had to endure but think you did absolutley the right thing.
    I understand resistance only aggrivates the situation and increases the violence.
    I hope you received the help and support you needed. You did nothing wrong and I can only hope he was caught and severely punished.Thank you for sharing. Be well.

  22. One always one will react in a given manner, but we never know until it happens.

  23. Sorry about prior post, the words were all there, I've no idea where they went...
    One does wonder how one will react in a given moment. But we never know until it happens. or something like that, geez!

  24. I don't know if I am a hero. I was once threatened by a boy my age, with a knife. He said nothing but held it in front of my face. I looked at the knife and stepped aside and went further on my way. I didn't look back and the boy still didn't say anything. I felt nothing, I was twelve and didn't realize that this was danger.

  25. Hay, I knew exactly what you meant. I have that word gobbling bug.
    You are so right but if we only knew how we would react, we could be prepared. These suprises are hard on the heart.

    Reader Wil,
    Hero maybe, you were one cool girl to react the way you did. That took steady nerves. I would have been terrified.