The road to manhood starts with “The Ledge”

As a kid of seven or eight nothing represented proving yourself as a man in the neighborhood more than jumping off of “the ledge.”

“The ledge” was not a symbol for a greater cause or even a ledge itself; “the ledge” was in fact just a giant stone wall (why we didn’t just call it “the wall” is still unclear.)

Every day my friends and I would play football in the front yard and the losers would be forced to jump off of “the ledge.” Now the climb up “the ledge” was terrifying. Using the jutting out spots of unfinished bricks, we would scale “the ledge” and stand on top where our neighbor would plant all of her bushes and flowers. Then, after yelling at the top of our lungs we would make the eight foot jump, landing on our feet, and rolling down the grass hill laughing.

As I got older the prestige of “the ledge” diminished and we started proving ourselves in different ways, like playing two-hand touch, but the memories still remained.

It was a cool August night the next time “the ledge” would find use. My brother and I were playing catch in the front yard when I told him of how I used to spend my days jumping off of “the ledge” and how much fun it was. My brother’s curiosity was captured.

I thought it would be no big deal for my brother, at age 11, to make the same plunge I used to make when I was six, but I was terribly, terribly wrong. Instead of climbing up “the ledge” the way my friends and I used to do, my brother just walked up the mini hill and walked over to the side of the giant wall.

Without a yell, and without a smile on his face, my brother made the jump, but there was no laughing or rolling at the end. As I watched my brother fall eight feet out of the air straight-legged I couldn’t help but think to myself, “My parents are going to be so mad,” and they were.

Rob crashed to the ground and the waterworks started immediately. He didn’t break his legs, but he did sprain his knee and his trust in big brother Ryan was forever shaken.

Still to this day though I don’t blame myself for my brother’s blunder; I blame “the ledge” for being greedy and taking out its rage on Rob for being ignored for so many years.

Ryan Shaver, staff writer