What’s Worse: Physical Labor or Family Kendama Sessions?

Mine are the hands of a thinker, damn it!

The rare "self-imposed break" selfie.

The rare “self-imposed break” selfie.

It hurts us!

It hurts us!

The field clean-up for our Okinawan Softball League was supposed to have taken place two Sundays ago, but was rained out. Matty, my cousin Tyler and I represented our team. I was told that there would be minimal work to be done – a little weeding, chalking the baselines, standard stuff, really. Well, I should have known things would not be so simple. There were no clouds in the sky when we arrived and we soon learned that the dugouts had been taken down. There would be no shade, not even on work breaks. As I got closer to the field I noticed that it was in bad shape. Grass and weeds had overgrown much of the infield dirt.

Matty and I started digging up the grass and weeds. About twenty minutes in, we had broken out into a hard sweat. Matty turned around and said, “When did all these people get here?” During our care for the 6-hole, more than a dozen other people had shown up and started working the baselines and the right side of the infield. “I can feel Grandpa’s judgmental eyes watching over me right now,” I said. “No, hit it like this!” Matty said in an approximation of our late grandfather’s voice. We both laughed. After an hour and forty-five minutes, Matty and I had managed to more or less clear the infield dirt of the overgrowth. “I am going to pissed if we show up next weekend and this stuff is all back,” I said. Why doesn’t the Little League take better care of the field? Unacceptable.

The culprit is in the background.

The culprit is in the background.

When my mom called the house to lunch later that afternoon, Madison – who had been playing with her kendama – draped the toy around her neck. “What?!” I shouted. “Who showed you how to do this?” I said. “Was it the kids at school? Did you seem them wearing their kendama’s like this?” I demanded. It was a step away from an after school special on the perils of drug use. “No, mom showed me how,” Mad said. I looked over to Lynnette who was smirking. I shook my head in disgust. Madison laughed. She loves getting a rise out of me. That’s my fault. I’ve spent the first 5-plus years of her life constantly trying to get rises out of her. I did this. did this.

I was so weary when we got home that I passed out for two hours. My legs, back, and most of all, my hands ached from the field work. It was a precious reminder of something I already knew. I am a soft, pudgy man, unaccustomed to physical labor. My body rejects it. It’s kind of like how I break out into hives and start sneezing uncontrollably whenever I am in the weight room. Allergies, I guess.

Well, just in case any of you missed it, here is the footage from the first ever spontaneous Higa Family Kendama Competition. Enjoy.

Notice my dad’s side eye after nailing the trick. He just wanted to make sure someone, anyone saw it.

To quote my brother Paul, “Best. Success. Face. Ever.”

Now that I am too old for real athletic pursuits, my bitterness towards my dad for marrying such an unathletic woman has subsided. But I suppose this counts as physical evidence that it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault.

Lynnette had been unsuccessfully trying to land this tricks for a few minutes. She was going to give up, but both Coach Phil and Coach Al showed up to push her into continuing. I want you to notice the movement of her legs after the completion of the trick. This is a telltale sign of excitement usually reserved for high-impact moments like a Kardashians marathon and an entree bring dropped off at our table.


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