They say everyone has a double, a doppelganger, someone who’s their mirror image. What if you just met your double? What if you were a thirteen-year-old kid who’s gay and you just met your double?
After the Campo game ended we did the run-past-hand-tap thing with the Campo team that football teams always do. It shows that we know this is a game, and there aren’t any grudges. I’d taken off my helmet because I was hot, and I carried it in my left hand.
About half-way down the line I heard the guy next in line to do the hand-tap call out, “Hey, Tony!”
I looked close and saw it was Brayden Adalma, a friend from Carver.
I called out, “Hey, Brayden. I’ll meet you in front of the bleachers.” I continued through the line, and after passing the last Campo guy I ran to the bleachers instead of heading to our locker room with the other guys. I’m glad I did, because Heather and David came to the bottom row and leaned against the railing a few feet above the field. We said “Hi” to each other.
“Good game, Tony,” David said. “You guys were fantastic.”
“I agree,” Heather said. “That fumble recovery you made in the Campo backfield then ran for the touchdown really nailed our win.”
We chatted for a couple minutes until Brayden ran up and said “Hi” to me.
“Hey, this is Brayden Adalma, a friend of mine when I went to Carver. As you can see, he goes to Campo now. Brayden, these two friends of mine are Heather Miller and David Andrews. They both go to Wilson.”
“You guys are going to be unbeatable,” Brayden said. “You sure mopped up the field with us.”
“I don’t think the first game means all that much,” I said.
“Well, I sure wouldn’t want to bet against you guys.”
When he said ‘bet’ I looked around for Todd.
“Hey, Heather, have you seen Todd?”
“Yeah. He went to the bathroom. He should be here in a couple minutes.”
“There he is,” I said, and Todd walked up.
“Brayden, this is Todd Anderson, my cousin. Todd, this is a friend of mine from Carver, Brayden Adalma.”
Brayden stared at Todd for a few seconds, then turned and stared at me.
“Jesus, you guys are twins.”
“Nope, we’re not,” Todd said. “We’re cousins.”
“That’s only part of it,” Heather said. “They were born on the same day, but in different cities in different states. And their dads are identical twins.”
“And our mothers are twins, too,” Todd said. “Just not identical.”
“I’ve never heard anything like that. So you’re what, identical cousins? I never heard of that. You guys must be unique.”
“It’s not really unique,” I said. “We’re not called identical cousins because we’re not identical. We just look alike.”
“They look a lot alike,” Heather added.
Brayden grinned. “You guys could switch classes once in a while to get higher grades on tests.”
“Nah,” I said, “that wouldn’t work. I’m the smarter one and switching with Todd would lower my grades.”
“Don’t listen to him, Brayden,” Todd responded. “His brain is addled from getting too many concussions.”
“Hey, now that you mentioned concussions, what’s that thing on the back of your cap, Tony?”
“It’s an impact sensing device from Reebok, the Checklight™.” I pulled off my cap. “See, it has sensors that are coupled to my head. It gives feedback like a traffic signal with red, yellow, and green lights. Steady green means it’s turned on. Blinking green means my head had a light impact. Blinking yellow, my head had a moderate impact. Blinking red, my head had a severe impact. It doesn’t say I’ve actually had a concussion. It gives a measurement of impact force that lets our coaches decide when to do other tests to see if I might have a concussion or not. It stores the hits and lets coaches review what happened to each player. Any time we have a red light we’re pulled out to check how we are. All the guys on the team check everyone’s lights and if one is red they signal the sideline and he’s pulled out to be evaluated. We have a special agreement with the officials to let that happen without having to call a timeout. Sort of like when you lose your helmet and have to sit out the next play.”
“That’s totally cool. What’s your sensor say about the hits you received?”
“It’s gotta be hooked up to a computer. When I go in to shower I give my cap to the coach and he connects it to his laptop and collects the readings. Then I get it back after I’ve dressed and take it home. I can hook it up to my PC and see and save the readings. The unit pulls out so the cap can be washed. My mom bought me some extra caps so I always have a clean one to wear for games and for practice.”
“How many reds did your team get during the game?” Brayden asked.
“Three. The three guys were taken out of the game. That’s why I went in and played defense for a while in the second half.”
“And how many yellows and blinking greens?”
“I’m not sure, but there were maybe seven yellows. I didn’t pay any attention to the blinking greens.”
“How about you? How many yellows and blinking greens did you get?”
“One yellow, on that pass interception and run at the start of the game. When I got to the seven yard line your guy got me pretty good. Like I said, I have no idea how many blinking greens.”
“I’m going to talk to our coach and see if he’s heard of these sensors. They’re made by Reebok, right?”
“Right. Wilson High is testing them with the freshman football team. If they think they will help detect concussions, then they’ll adopt them for all football, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and field hockey players, in other words, all sports where there can be impacts to your head. Except basketball. I think they’re great.”
“You said that you use them for practice too?”
“Yeah, but only if we’re wearing our practice or regular uniforms.”
Changing the subject, I asked, “So why are you going to Campo, Brayden?”
“We moved the summer after I graduated from Carver, and I’m in the Campo district now. Why are you at Wilson? I thought all of the kids from Carver went to Lehman.”
“Most did go to Lehman, but there are a few of us that live just across the line between the Lehman and Wilson attendance areas. I’m one of those and I’m on the Wilson side.”
“Are you guys going to the varsity game?” Brayden asked.
“Yeah. But right now what I want to do is get something to eat. Are you sticking around for the game, or are you going back to Campo on the team bus?”
“I’m going to the varsity game. My dad came to see my game. We’ll go to the varsity game and I’ll go home with him after.”
“If you’re interested, why don’t you and your dad come with us to Giant George’s Burgers? We’re pretty much taking it over. Todd’s mom, she’s my Aunt Nora, set it up for us. If you don’t mind sitting with some of the Wilson freshman football team.” I grinned. “You might get kidded some, but they’re a good bunch of guys and I think you’ll like them.
“It’s okay with me. I miss Giant George’s burgers, and I don’t see anything wrong with sitting surrounded by you guys. Maybe I can learn something. I’ll have to get my dad to agree, though. Where can we meet up after we shower and dress?”
“How about the entrance to the stadium? It’ll be the easiest place to meet up with your dad. It’s right across from the gym, and it’s close to the parking lot.”
“Okay. I’ll text him before I shower and let him know. I better head to the showers now. I’ll see you in a few.”
“See you then, Brayden.”
I ran to our locker room. That shower felt so good! After I dressed I went to stadium entrance. Todd, Heather, and David were waiting for me.
“What time is the varsity game?” David asked.
“Seven thirty,” I replied.
“What about the JV game? When is that?” Heather asked.
“It’s at Campo,” I said. “There isn’t enough time for freshman, JV, and varsity games one right after the other. So, the JV teams play on the opposite field at five o’clock. We could squeeze it in if we could get to Campo and then get back here to watch the varsity. But that’d be a big hassle. Besides, I’d rather eat. I’m famished.”
“It’s okay if I come with you guys to Giant George’s?” David asked me.
“Sure. Since we’re taking it over there’ll be plenty of room. Hey, there’s Brayden and his dad.”
“Hi, guys. This is my dad, George Adalma. Dad, I’m going to let these guys introduce themselves. I think first names are enough.”
“Hi, I’m Tony. Brayden and I were friends at Carver Middle School and I met you when I went to your house with Brayden one time. I’m on the Wilson freshman football team.”
The rest of the crew introduced themselves.
“So I understand we’re going to Giant George’s for burgers. Anyone want a ride?” Mr. Adalma asked.
“Not necessary,” Todd said. “We can walk there from here. It’s less than ten minutes from Wilson. We go north on the side driveway from the gym and walk off campus to Kenwell, turn left, and it’s about a block and a half.”
“Shall we?” I asked.
Everyone said the equivalent of “Yes” and we followed Todd’s directions.
There were a few of my teammates there already and I introduced Brayden and his dad, then we gave our orders and sat down to eat burgers, fries, and shakes. Yeah, all of us guys on the team ordered them too even though they aren’t part of our recommended football diet.
“I’m very impressed with how well organized your team was,” Mr. Adalma said. “You have excellent coaching. But what it gets down to is the focus you guys seemed to have. Every one of you knew where you were supposed to be and what you were supposed to do.”
“Thanks,” Cameron said. “We have a great coach, Jake Kavanaugh. He taught us how to play and do our best.”
“I agree,” Jacob said. “The other thing is the guys on the team are serious about being there and doing their jobs.”
“I’m not trying to be negative or pick on you, but I have a question for you, Brayden,” Cameron said. “Why didn’t Campo do better in today’s game?”
I saw Brayden take a deep breath. “We have a smaller team. I mean smaller in both the size of our guys and the number of guys on the team. You guys are bigger and a lot stronger than we are. And you don’t seem to have many guys who stay in the game, playing both offense and defense. We had three guys on our line who were in and played most of the game.”
“Do you guys have a weight training room?” I asked.
“Yeah, but the varsity gets it seventh period and after school.”
“You could join a gym,” I suggested.
“Yeah, that’s a good idea. What about that, Dad? You willing to pay my way?”
“You’ve already asked me that question three times, and I’ve said ‘Yes’ three times. I’ve been waiting for you to get your lazy butt out of bed on the weekends and say you want to go to the SuperSport gym.”
Brayden blushed, and we laughed at him.
“He got ya, Bray!” I said.
“Is your twin brother on the freshman football team too?” Mr. Adalma asked, changing the subject so Brayden wouldn’t continue to be the focus of our derision.
“He isn’t my twin brother. This is my cousin Todd.” Then I explained our relationship.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing. That’s a very funny story about how you two met on your first day of high school.”
We finished eating and started to walk back to the campus.
“We have some time to kill before the varsity game starts,” Heather said. “Brayden, if you and your dad are interested, Wilson High’s having an open house this evening before the varsity game. We can take you on a guided tour. With me as your tour guide you’ll find out more about Wilson High than you ever knew or probably would ever want to know.” She grinned.
Heather was right when she said we’d find our more about Wilson High than we ever knew. I saw some things on the tour that I hadn’t known about and was glad to learn about. Like the auto shop and the industrial arts building with the metal and wood shops and the drafting and design classrooms. We walked through the art classrooms, including the ceramics studio with a kiln, a big oven where students have their pottery and ceramics fired, and the art gallery. That a high school would have an art gallery amazed me. It had student art, most from prior years, some from this year. We also saw some paintings and ceramics done by teachers. We saw the science labs and saw some demonstrations. I’d seen the biology lab since I was taking biology, but I hadn’t seen the chemistry, physics, botany, and geology labs. I decided that physics and chemistry classes would be interesting. I’d be taking them in my sophomore and junior years. We saw the computer labs. Todd was taking Computer Technology second period, but I’d never seen the computer labs. I decided that I should take Computer Technology next year.
Suddenly I realized that I wouldn’t be taking any of those classes in my sophomore and junior years. I’d be attending Davis High School, not Wilson High. All of a sudden I lost interest in the campus tour.
“Hey, Heather. I’m tired. I’m going somewhere and sit down for a while.”
“Okay. See you at the game. Look for us. We’ll save you a seat.”
“See you,” I said.
I noticed Todd staring at me as I walked out of the computer lab. As soon as I got outside I didn’t see anywhere to sit, so I leaned against the side of the building. I closed my eyes and tried to prevent tears from starting.
After a minute or so I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. I sort of jerked, but the hand didn’t move away. I opened my eyes and turned to see Todd standing next to me. He looked worried.
“What’s wrong, Tony? And don’t tell me ‘nothing’ or some sort of shit like that. Remember, I can read you like a book because we’re almost twins.”
I took a breath and let it out. “I started thinking about the classes I’d be taking in my sophomore and junior years. Like chemistry and physics and computer classes. Then I realized that won’t happen. I won’t be here, attending Wilson High. I’ll be in Davis at Davis High. Where I won’t know anyone. I don’t even know what classes they’ll have. Like do they have Advanced Placement classes? Do they have great science and computer labs like we have here at Wilson? Will I play football? My life is really going to be fucked up and it’s making me feel like crying. Yeah, I know that’s stupid. We’re in high school and crying isn’t something I should do. But I’m so sad, and so mad, that I could scream.”
“So scream. It might make you feel better.”
I didn’t scream, I shouted instead, “Shiiiiit!” about five time, as loud as I could. It did make me feel better.
“I wish we were playing Davis in football this year. I’d love to see us whomp them good, like 63 to nothing,” I said.
“Why would you wish that, Tony? You’ll be playing on the Davis varsity next year. And don’t give me that look. You’re a great back on defense and an outstanding back on offense. Davis High’s football coach would give anything to get you on his team next year. It’s a good thing we never play Davis, otherwise you’d be conflicted when you’re on their team playing against your former Wilson teammates.”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“Remember that you still have most of your freshman year here at Wilson. You have a real advantage knowing so far in advance that you’ll be leaving. You should focus on everything you have left to do this year. Like running for vice president of the freshman class.”
“But when people hear I’m leaving Wilson, why would they vote for me?”
“Because you’re not going to tell them about your move. And you’re going to be the best fucking freshman class vice president Wilson High School has ever had.”
I laughed. “And you’re going to be the best fucking freshman class president Wilson High School has ever had. And you’re not going to move.”
“You know that you will absolutely leave Wilson after this school year, right?”
“Well, my folks are going to buy a house in Davis. I don’t think they’ll let me live with your folks for the rest of the time I go to high school.”
“That sucks hind tit,” he said.
I’m staring at him with my mouth open. “Where the hell did you pick that up?”
“Joe Garret’s granddad.”
“Who’s Joe Garret?”
“A friend of mine at Edison. His folks moved to Florida last year and he had to go with them. Sort of the same deal as you and Davis. Anyway, his granddad lived with them and he was a funny, funny guy.”
“So what does it mean?” I asked.
“I looked it up on Urban Dictionary. It comes from a baby calf getting the last tit on the mother cow. It means coming in last. It fits you, right?”
“Yeah, unfortunately you’re right.”
“Yeah, I guess. Hey, it’s getting late. Let’s head for the stadium. The varsity game will be starting in about a half hour. Heather said whoever gets there first to save seats in the first row center for the four of us.”
The varsity game against Campo was what could be called a yawner. We scored the first three touchdowns and went for two-point conversions on all three. We led 24 to 0 at the end of the first quarter. We scored three more touchdowns in the second quarter, and led 45 to 0 at halftime.
Campo came out energized to begin the third quarter. They drove the ball to our 3 yard line using passing plays. Our second team defense was on the field. They seemed flat-footed, but as soon as Campo had that first down on our 3 our defense dug in. Campo lost 6 yards on their first down play. Then their quarterback was sacked on the 13 yard line. Their third down play was another pass attempt and their quarterback was sacked on the 28 yard line trying to outrun our defensive backs. They were fourth and 28 and their punter came in and kicked the first field goal of his career. The score was 45 to 3.
Randall Hilton, the varsity coach, put in the second team offense. They scored two more touchdowns, but missed both PATs, and made a field goal — all in about five minutes. Now the score was 60 to 3 and it was still early in the third quarter. Coach Hilton met with the officials on the sidelines. One of them ran over and talked to the Campo coach. Then they announced that both teams had agreed to go to a non-stop clock for the rest of the game. Coach Hilton put in his third string guys so there was a mix of second and third stringers. Despite that we scored two field goals and led 66 to 3.
The fourth quarter started and Campo sent in their second team on both offense and defense. They scored a touchdown making the score 66 to 10. That ended the scoring. The game became a defensive battle with neither team able to move the ball anywhere close enough to score. Both teams got a lot of practice punting. The clock ran out and the game ended.
David bumped me with his shoulder. “We sure scored at will. I think our freshman team could have beat the Campo varsity tonight. What do you think’s going on with those Campo guys, Tony?”
“Damned if I know. Our scouting report said they played well in their first two games, beating Northgate and losing to Clayton Valley. Both were close games. Lemme ask Coach Kavanaugh.”
I walked to the end of the first row and took the stairs to the track, then jogged to where Coach Kavanaugh was talking to Coach Hilton, the Wilson varsity football coach. I stood about six feet back waiting for them to finish talking. Coach Kavanaugh noticed me.
“Hi, Tony. Do you know Coach Hilton?” I nodded my head and said “yes” and explained how I’d met him in the Sex Education class.
Coach Hilton smiled and held out his hand. While we shook hands he said, “I’ve heard a lot about you, Tony. It’s good to meet you, officially.”
“Thanks, Coach. It’s good to meet you too. Your guys were really on their game tonight. I’m impressed.”
“We did play well, but about half of the Campo team came down with the flu. I think the game would have been a lot closer if they hadn’t been sick.”
“Didn’t they get their flu shots?”
“I don’t know,” Coach Hilton said. “All of my guys got theirs. Did you get a flu shot, Tony?”
“Uh huh. We were told if we hadn’t had it already we had to get the TDAT shot or whatever it was, and they recommended that we get a flu shot at the same time. I got both, including the flu shot. I’ve never had the flu and never want to get it.”
“Smart kid you have here, Jake,” he said to Coach Kavanaugh. “Tony, I understand your uncle took a video of your game?”
“Yes. I’m going to see it tomorrow night. He and my aunt are staying with us and we’ll get a raw preview.”
“Coach Kavanaugh is going to show it to all of the football coaches on Monday. I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’ve been told that some of your guys,” and he pointed at me, “are strong candidates to move up to the varsity next year, and it’ll be good to see you in action.”
Shit! That made me remember that I’ll be at Davis High next year. I tried to force a smile, and Coach Kavanaugh didn’t say anything about my not being at Wilson after this year.
The weekend alarm on my clock switched on the radio at eight a.m. Saturday morning. Much too early to get up, so I hit the Sleep button twice to give me eighteen more minutes of slumber. It didn’t work. My brain decided to think about our meeting with Heather at eleven. So I got up, turned off the alarm and showered, brushed my teeth, and got dressed. Jeans, a white T, and a dark blue short-sleeve shirt.
When I got downstairs I saw Aunt Nora drinking a cup of coffee and reading the Times. She looked up and smiled when I walked in.
“Well, you’re up early. Todd said you two had to go to Heather’s house to work on your election campaign. But that’s not until just before noon, so I didn’t expect either of you to be up this early.”
“My alarm goes off at eight on weekend mornings because we have practice on Saturdays. So, it woke me up this morning. I wanted to go back to sleep, but I was wide awake. So, I showered and came down to see if anyone else was up.”
“I’m an early riser, weekdays and weekends. You know where everything is, so help yourself.”
I got a glass of orange juice and a sesame bagel which I sliced across and put in the toaster oven.
“Would you like the sports section?”
She handed it to me. “Look at page ten.”
I turned to that page. I saw an article with the headline:
Wilson varsity & freshmen
record impressive wins
I read the article, twice. My name, Anthony McKinley, was in the article two times. I couldn’t believe it, so I read it again.
“Wow.” That’s all I could say. Aunt Nora grinned at my reaction.
The story was mostly about the varsity game. But the last few paragraphs were about the freshman team and our game against Campo. It said we started what turned into a Wilson blowout when I intercepted a pass on the first play of the game and ran it back to the Campo 7 yard line. It continued telling how I sacked the Campo quarterback causing him to fumble, then I picked up the ball and ran for a touchdown. It said we ended the first half with a score of 28 to 0 and won the game 42 to 7.
“So what do you think, Tony?” Aunt Nora asked.
I looked up from the sports section. “I don’t know. I did a couple things, but lots of other guys on our team made the win happen. I wish I hadn’t been singled out the way the story says.”
“Don’t be too humble. Getting publicity, good publicity, can be valuable. You’re running for vice president of the freshman class. Todd’s running with you for president of the freshman class. Now that your name’s been in the newspaper you have an even better chance of winning, and that will help Todd as well. That’s called name recognition.”
“But I’m afraid that the guys on the team will be thinking I’m just a glory hound, getting my name in the paper.”
“I don’t think that will happen, Tony. But you’ll find out on Monday, won’t you.”
“Yeah. That’s for sure.”
Todd joined us. “Hi, Mom. Hi, Tony. What’s up? Where’s Dad?”
“Last things first, your father took his car to the dealer to get it serviced. There was a recall and having it done today means he won’t have his car tied up during the week. Then, what’s up is the article in the sports section of today’s newspaper.” Aunt Nora handed it to Todd.
“Great write up about our blowout win over Campo. 66 to 10. That’s amazing.”
“Remember, I told you that Coach Hilton told me a lot of the Campo team had the flu. It wouldn’t have been such a blowout if they’d been….”
Todd interrupted me. “Oh my god! Tony! Your name is in the paper! They say you won the freshman game. Intercepting a pass on the first play of the game. And there it is again when you caused and picked up a fumble and ran for a touchdown in the second quarter.” He looked up, smiling. “You know what this means?”
“What?” I asked.
“Publicity, my good man, publicity. There’s nothing like publicity to help a political campaign. Wait till we show this to Heather this morning.”
“You know that I’m not responsible for the win. It’s a team sport, and all of the guys on the team are responsible for our win.”
“Okay, but the publicity is still golden.”
“That’s what I told Tony,” Aunt Nora said. “What time do you have to be at Heather’s house?” She asked.
“Eleven o’clock on the dot,” Todd replied. “She told me she’d remove sensitive parts of my anatomy if we were late.”
Aunt Nora laughed. “Then why don’t you two eat your breakfast then get a head start on your homework.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” I said.
“What?” I asked Heather when we got to her house. It looked like she’d been standing outside waiting for us. She looked like that cat that ate the canary in one of the old cartoons that’s on TV Saturday mornings — and this was a Saturday. I knew she’d seen today’s Times.
“You’re famous, Tony! This article is the key to you two winning the election,” she said.
“No, no, no! This can’t be happening!” I said.
“What’s with Tony?” Heather asked Todd.
“He’s all, ‘But it wasn’t just me that won the game,’ and apparently he refuses to recognize the value of publicity.”
“Then let me, as your campaign manager, worry about stuff like this article. Come on in and let’s get going on your task list.”
So we got to work. Around one thirty Heather’s mom brought us sandwiches, chips, and sodas. We stopped and ate, then got back to work. By five fifteen we’d finished everything on Heather’s list.
“I don’t believe it. I’m not done with what I need to do, and here you two finished everything on your lists in basically one afternoon,” Heather said.
“We’re fast, we’re smart, and we’re good looking,” Todd said.
“That sounds like a great campaign slogan,” I said. Todd and I laughed and we bumped fists.
“What do you have left, Heather?” I asked.
“I have to get our banners printed, and our handouts duplicated, and finish your scripts for the speeches you’re going to give.”
“Hey, wait a minute. What speeches? I don’t do speeches,” I said.
“Yes you do,” Todd said, “All the candidates for all the offices have to give their speech on Friday during homeroom. It’s on the to-do list Heather gave you. Otherwise, how will any of the freshman class know you so they can vote for you?”
“Why does life have to be so difficult?” I said. “So, where’s this speech I have to give. I need to start rehearsing so I’ll remember what I’m supposed to say and can say it without having to read it or tripping over words or forgetting parts of it.”
“I’ll have them for you two Monday morning,” Heather said. “You’ll love it. It’s short and sweet.”
That night after dinner Aunt Nora, Uncle Dennis, Todd, and I went to my house, actually my soon-to-be-former house, to watch Uncle Phil’s video of our game against Campo.
I hadn’t seen them in a couple years, so I said ‘hi’ to both Aunt Betty and Uncle Phil when we arrived. We made the introductions and Aunt Betty and Uncle Phil were amazed by how Todd and I looked like identical twins. They’d heard about us of course, and had met Aunt Nora and Uncle Dennis already, but they hadn’t seen either me or Todd.
The two of us sat getting bored listening to our relatives repeating stuff we’d heard a thousand times. We pretended that we were interested. Finally Uncle Phil looked at me.
“Tony, we hear that you enjoy playing football,” he said.
“I do enjoy it. I never would have thought I’d be on a football team and actually loving it. And it all started because of a bully at school.”
“A bully? How did that happen?” Aunt Betty asked.
So I told them the story of Kiernan Mach and Coach Kavanaugh and how all I wanted to do was use the weight training room, and how it ended up with me on the freshman football team.
“You ought to write that up, Tony. Your mother tells me that you’re taking a creative writing class. Sounds like a perfect combination, your story and your class. Once you’ve written it as a story, then write it as a script and send it to me.”
I laughed. “As if I had time! I’m also running for freshman class vice president and Todd’s running for freshman class president. I have football practice every morning before school. Besides PE seventh period every day, which for me is freshman football, I’m taking seven academic classes and pulling straight A’s. That means loads of homework. So maybe this coming summer I’ll have time to do recreational writing.”
“You seem to be holding up okay,” Uncle Phil said.
“Yeah, I’m doing okay. Todd’s been a huge help and he keeps me on track so I can be focused on what’s important.”
“It’s good to have a friend you can count on that way,” Aunt Betty said.
“Yeah, it is,” I responded.
“We understand you’re moving to Davis. Are you excited about moving to a new city and a new school?”
“My folks are moving to Davis and I’m staying here for my freshman year so I can play football. The high school in Davis doesn’t have a freshman class. Instead they have ninth grade in junior high schools instead of a middle school, and that’s grades seven through nine. Now that I’m a high school student, there’s no way I’m going to go backward and be in a junior high school with all those little kids. Besides, they don’t have a freshman football team so I’m staying with Aunt Nora and Uncle Dennis through the end of this school year.”
I didn’t want to talk about Davis, so I changed the subject. “Can we see the video of our game now?”
“Sure,” Uncle Phil replied as he stared at me. I think he got from what I said and my expression that I wasn’t happy about moving to Davis.
He hooked up his video equipment to the TV and we watched the game. It amazed me watching us actually playing the game like I’d been sitting in the stands. I saw so much that I couldn’t see from field level when I was playing on the offense and especially when I was playing on the defense.
“That’s outstanding,” I said when it was over. “Coach Kavanaugh must be excited having this to show the team and the other football coaches on Monday. I saw things we should have done a different way that I never saw from ground level.”
“Thanks, Tony,” Uncle Phil said. “You know, I’m helping your coach find a way to get semi-pro equipment that he can use to make videos of every home game, both the freshman and varsity games.”
“Oh, man, that would be so cool. It must cost a lot of money,” I said.
“It’s not that expensive. But school budgets are always tight, so I’m working to find some top quality used equipment that will be more affordable. When is your next home game?”
“Thursday afternoon at three thirty. We’re playing Del Rio. Then our varsity plays Del Rio at seven thirty that night. It’s on Thursday because Del Rio had a problem getting the buses for their teams to make the trip on Friday.”
Telling Uncle Phil about our Del Rio game made me remember that on Monday Coach York would report on his scouting trip to Del Rio’s freshman game yesterday. I didn’t remember who they’d played and how good a team they had, but I was about to find out.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing A Time When It All Went Wrong
There are a lot of American football terms in this story. Not everyone, especially those of you who don’t live in North America, will understand them. Fortunately, the internet can come to your rescue.
There’s a quick introduction to American football with pictures at https://myfootballmentor.com/category/football-basics/.
Wikipedia has a glossary of American football terms at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_American_football and I recommend it as a source to reduce confusion.
There’s an image of a American high school football field with dimensions at http://www.sportsknowhow.com/football/field-dimensions/high-school-football-field-dimensions.html.
If you're not interested in football, you can skim over those sections of the story. Tony would understand, and Todd might even agree with you.
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