Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saturday Mornings

I used to love watching cartoons on Saturday morning. No school, just cartoon after cartoon and no cares in the world. That is, until I joined the Chaparrals and we began having our sports matches on Saturday afternoon. There was football season, baseball season and basketball season.

In my previous post about the club, I mentioned how my parents had forced me to join; I wasn't a very social or outgoing person and given my druthers, I'd just as soon had stayed home on Friday evenings instead of attending the meetings. And now my Saturday mornings were taken away from me as I had to wake up early for our games.

Football was my least favorite of the three. For one, although it was flag and not tackle football, it was still a physical game with the blocking involved, and frankly I was scared of getting injured. Secondly, it was played on a field and if you fell you got all dirty, something else I didn't like.

Several years after high school, I went back to the counselors office and requested to see my student file. I flipped through the comments and ran across something my second grade teacher, Mrs. Malone, had written about me: Gets very upset if he gets dirty. I laughed when I read it but was still offended. Hmph.

There we were one Saturday morning playing against one of the best teams in our league that had a superstar quarterback. Since I wasn't very talented, I was a perpetual linesman, whether it was offense or defense. My favorite moments of these games were when I was sitting on the bench.

But this Saturday I decided I would actually put some effort into what I was doing and stop being afraid of getting dirty, or of getting hurt. Rather than getting pushed out of the way, I'd put up a fight.

On this particular play, we punted the ball to the opposition. The superstar quarterback caught it and began his run up the field, evading our guys as they went for his flag. As I looked at him and his blocker running towards me, I thought I was the only one left between him and the goal line. So I made up my mind I would try and get his flag no matter what the consequences.

His blocker eyed me with a confident look that said he was going to take me out of the play. I ran towards them and even though his blocker hit me, I managed somehow to grab the quarterback's flag before falling and skidding in the mud. My teammates couldn't believe what had just happened and they were jumping up and down.

Meanwhile, I slowly got up and they came running over to congratulate me. I had been looking down the field and saw that someone else had gotten the other flag right after I did, so the first thing I said was, "It was no big deal, his other flag got caught anyway."

But my teammates still kept giving me congrats. I'm sure they were amazed that this big chicken had actually stood up and went for the gold. I didn't do anything else spectacular that day and I have to say I kept thinking about all that mud on my pants, but I also have to say I felt really proud.

It was worth missing the cartoons that day.

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