By Todd R. Nelson
The first significant snowfall of the year had blanketed the school playground—the raw materials for sledding, building forts, and sculpting snow. It also meant the opening day of snowball season! So the Commissioner of Snowballs called a press conference.
“Good Morning. I’ll read a brief statement and then answer questions,” said the Commish, booming into his microphone.
“Our school has a snowball rule for outdoor recess. It reads as follows: ‘No one is allowed to throw snowballs at, or during, the school day.’ Thank you. Now for questions.”
The first reporter had his hands in the air before the Commish had even begun reading his statement. “Clarification, sir: Does this mean that you also can’t throw snowballs on an adjacent piece of property, like the neighbor’s yard?”
“—Or how about on the playground after school?” chimed in The Hancock Picayune’s education correspondent.
“Let me amplify my statement. Snowballs are not allowed during school time, nor at any time on the school property,” said the Commish. “That should take care of just about any foreseeable situation.”
Nonetheless, a sports reporter had her hand in the air. “Does that mean no snowballs during basketball practice, or after school games?”
The Commish considered this for a second, then replied tersely, “Any school-sponsored activity is considered school time. My jurisdiction does not extend beyond the school day or the school property…whichever ends first.”
“Can I throw snowballs with my high school-aged brother,” asked the APO stringer.
“The ‘time’ and ‘location’ clauses apply to that one as the policy attaches to you, though not your brother. He’s in a different league,” said the Commish.
“Commissioner, how about when the older kids have recess on their own playground—i.e. out of range of the younger classes,” probed the legal affairs correspondent for the The Journal of the Bagaduce Bar Association. “Can they toss a little snow?”
“Let me tell you a true story, my friend,” intoned the Commish, leaning forward on his podium, dangling his glasses above the official league seal. “Last year we had a little incident with snowballs flying where they shouldn’t have. I knew about it as soon as the first snowball was airborne. A few of our ‘franchise players’ were wreaking havoc. Furthermore, you could be down at the town library or the store, throwing snowballs at seagulls, and someone would speed dial me or text me to say so. Felony Snow Endangerment. You’re toast.”
The questions persisted. No stone would be left unturned. “Let’s say you and a friend agree that it’s okay to throw snow at one another?” probed the court reporter for Entertainment Tonight.
“Automatic third felony strike,” said the Commish. “Burnt toast.”
“What if we’re wearing snow pants and jackets?” asked the style editor for BES Wear Daily. “With a hood.”
“Irrelevant,” said the Commish. “Now you’re French toast. The blanket policy is clear, as I stated.”
“Could you be more specific about the consequences for throwing snowballs?” asked the crime reporter for Daily News.
The Commish rattled off the sanctions: “Seven game suspension; fine; media shame; mandatory ineligibility for Winter Festival Hall of Fame.”
There was a last, lone hand still raised. “Can I throw snowballs at my house?” said the cub reporter.
“Sure, kid,” said the Commish, “But it depends on your definition of ‘at.’ That’s a non-league venue. Ask your parents. Have a ball. We all done here?”
“One more, sir: What do you think of the reputed inflation of the size of league-sanctioned snowballs?”
But no one waited for the answer. The press corps bolted out the door, eager to file their stories before the next news cycle…or winter storm.
Todd R. Nelson is principal of Brooksville Elementary School.