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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/21/21

Sibling Rivalries

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"Siblings: children of the same parents, each of whom is perfectly normal until they get together."
"- Sam Levenson

Two people playing air hockey
Two people playing air hockey
(Image by marcoverch)
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The two kids at the air hockey table could have been my sister and me. The brother was a couple of years older and was dominating his sister who could barely see over the table. Still, she was determined and feisty. That is until her mother tried to offer advice and became the target of pent-up frustration. The sister stormed off and the game was over.

My sister and I stepped up to the table and were instantly transported back in time. We were no longer two adults past the half-century mark playing in a corporate arcade. Instead, we were a couple of kids just a few years older than the ones we had just been watching and we were set to do battle in my grandparent's garage while the adults visited upstairs.

My sister and me
My sister and me
(Image by Cindy Petersen)
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The puck comes hurling at me and the game has started. I block it and send it back to my younger sibling. We were competitive as children and as adults nothing has changed. It isn't long before the puck has flown off the table. It won't be the first time.

I laugh to myself as I notice the plexiglass that divides the table in two. It is not hard to imagine what necessitated the protection from flying pucks; two people playing a game way too hard and the puck leaving the table into one of the player's faces. Mothers everywhere would claim that the person lost an eye.

The mallets (yes, that is what they are called according to the United States Air Hockey Association) are also different than I remember. The ones that we are using now have a protective lip over the front. My knuckles are thankful for this protection as I block a shot and the puck lifts off of the table. I can feel the sting as I remember not being so lucky as a child.

One game ends and another begins. I can feel the sweat starting to form and I laugh a little at the ridiculousness of the situation. Every time the puck crosses my sister's goal line it feels like a wrong from the past has been avenged. She scores and I feel the deep sting of utter defeat.

(Image by Carl J. Petersen)   Details   DMCA
The funny part is that looking back I cannot remember the scores of any of the games. As competitive as we played, I do not know how many games either of us won. My sister would probably claim that she won them all.

Two other people step up to play and we are forced to relinquish the table. We adjust to the fit of our present-day selves and continue our way through the arcade. We notice a game that simulates ax throwing and a new expression of our sibling rivalry begins.

"Two things in life that will never change, one is me for a sibling, and two is me reminding you you are getting older. Happy Birthday!"
"- Robert Rivers

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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