“Back to School.” Those were three little words I hated to hear when I was a youngster. When I was a kid, I must have ridden my bicycle hundreds of miles during the summer, going from one park to another to get into a pickup baseball game.

With a candy bar in a bag, baseball glove on my handle bars and a bat over my shoulder, off I would go peddling everywhere. Sure enough, there would be about four or five guys in the park and we would hook up for a 3 on 3 baseball game. If not, I would peddle off to another park. That bike became my conduit to go from June, when school let out, through early September, when school would start up.

Then my posterior would have to be reshaped to sit in a classroom seat. It was not the seat I would have preferred, but it turned out to be the seat I needed to be in (a lesson I learned later in life).

“Back to school.” Those three words stabbed my heart every time I heard them. I felt I learned more by fielding a ground ball than adding two “stupid” numbers to get one number. I could do that already. I already knew if I got two hits in four at bats I was batting .500. I was way ahead of the math game then and I knew it. So why did I need to sit in a classroom all day when my trusty Schwinn bicycle was waiting for me?

It’s funny how life works. You get up, you go to work, you go home, you go to bed, and you get up and do it all over again. I miss my days of getting up, riding my bike, playing baseball, going home, going to bed, and then doing it all over again. The candy bar was different, the players were different, and the field was different each day. What wasn't different was my trusty Schwinn bicycle. I miss that bike. I wonder where it is today, and how many places we went together over the years as I was growing up.

I look around today in Quincy and hardly ever see a kid riding a bicycle. I know times have changed, but has it changed that much?The thrill of independence at the age of 10 is something you only get once in your life. It’s a thrill I obviously haven’t forgotten. Too bad it had to end because of “back to school.”

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