Annie stared down at the concrete with a big frown on her face. The spot where the ball had hit her arm stung, but her heart stung more. She always won at dodge ball. Her team never lost once in all of third grade! But here she was, the last one out on her team. She had lost.
The teams lined up to give each other high fives like they always did at the end of recess. Annie really didn’t want to give those kids one. They already knew they won!
Instead, Annie turned and ran towards the other end of the playground. But one of the teachers saw her and stopped her.
“Annie, why aren’t you giving high fives with your team?” The teacher asked.
“I don’t want to,” she said, kicking the ground a little.
“Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, Annie,” the teacher replied, and she tried to take Annie’s hand and walk back to the teams with her.
But Annie pulled away and crossed her arms. The teacher sighed, and pointed to a time-out box.
“You’ll have to sit for the rest of recess, Annie. Being a good sport is important,” she said.
Annie sat in the box with a big huff. Her arm didn’t hurt anymore, but she wanted to cry. She was horrified when the boy in the time out box next to her laughed at her.
“Guys, Annie’s crying!” he yelled to a group of his friends. They all turned and laughed at her. She was so ashamed! Recess couldn’t end soon enough.
When they finally went inside for lunch, Annie was excited. At least she could have the yummy lunch her mom packed, even if she had lost the game and been laughed at. But when she opened her backpack, there was nothing there. Her lunchbox was missing.
Annie told the teacher, and the teacher made her a PB&J sandwich. It was almost too much- it was grape jelly, and she had to eat the crust. Gross! Could the day get any worse?
Finally Annie settled into her seat for math, the last part of the day. They got their tests back, and Annie just knew she had aced the test. But there it was, with a big red 50% on it. She couldn’t help it. She really started to cry.
She stood up and walked into the hallway, where she sat down against the wall and put her head in her arms. Then she heard the classroom door open and close. Somebody sat next to her. She felt a little hand on her arm.
“It will be okay, Annie. Sometimes things are really hard. But they will get better,” the girl said. It was a girl Annie saw in class but didn’t really know.
Annie sniffled. “I’ve never had such a bad day. I just want to go home!”
The girl patted Annie’s arm.
“But if you go home, you will miss doing math with M&M’s! Come on, you can be in our group.”
Annie let the girl help her stand up and followed her back into the room. The teacher smiled at them, and gave Annie a handful of the little candies to practice her math with. She sat down with the girl and two other boys.
Soon, Annie was glad she was there. They had a great time moving the candy and joking together. She might have had a bad day, but now she had a new friend. And that was worth it.