My dad is a volunteer fire fighter for our local district. In addition to responding to brush fires and burning cars, the firemen donate their time to be on hand for local high school football games in case of an especially egregious injury. I never played actual tackle football, but was always pretty sure I could have, so naturally I wanted to tag along.
I went to a high school that couldn’t afford to bankroll an actual football program (equipment, insurance, concussion studies) so all the “war stories” my wife graciously listens to are about my exploits playing flag football. (Read with Trump Voice: “Sad. So sad. Total failure.) I remember having “locker room conversations”* with my friends about how we were pretty sure we could have excelled playing in an actual tackle football program. Probably not.
The matchup was the Highland Scots (think Mel Gibson in Braveheart yelling, “FREEDOM!!!) against the Granger Spartans. The kids from Granger were larger, faster, and clearly consumed more dairy products. It also happened to be homecoming weekend, so there was a special energy in the air. As a former high school student I’m guessing the energy was an unmeasured mix of axe body spray, hair gel, and repressed sexual urges.
High school was, and still is, awkward. At halftime there was a presentation of the homecoming royalty. I felt sorry for the clearly frostbitten girls wearing shiny dresses and pounds of concealer standing next to boys sporting obviously rented formal wear and enough zits to play a rousing game of connect the dots on. (spoiler alert for the girls: the completed image is a picture of the boys’ mother, for whom you will never be good enough.) Some of the kids wore sashes that prominently displayed their “homecoming titles.” The titles varied in creativity from “Homecoming King” to most likely to “Eject Macaroni out of His Nose After a Simultaneous Burp, Fart, and Sneeze.” The writing on that sash was really small.
Lindsay and I recently moved back in with my parents while we look for a place of our own which is it’s very own flavor of high fructose awkward. The settling in process includes a lot of drawer and closet cleaning, which leads to me wasting many handfuls of minutes on the floor paging through old high school yearbooks. Awkwardness abounds and I am left with absolutely no room to poke fun at the current batch of half-baked McMuffins waiting to make their mark on the world.
For anyone who is interested, the Spartans annihilated the Scots.
* not the kind of locker room conversations a presidential candidate might have with Billy Bush while on a tour bus wearing a live microphone