I am 12. My soccer team is representing Newfoundland, not yet Newfoundland and Labrador, in a national tournament. We obtain a copy of today’s local newspaper, whose front page, above-the-fold, features the father of one of our forwards. Captioning the photo is the headline, “Saskatchewan Fighting Obesity Epidemic”. This is the greatest day in any of our lives.
We’d won the right to play in this competition by defeating a team from Burin at provincials. I co-wrote a call-and-response jingle about their best player, Justin Mayo, who was known to go down easily when tackled. The first person would say “I know a guy who dives a lot.” Then, someone (or everyone) else would say, “Go Joe Mayo.”
Earlier that summer, I was the referee in a soccer game played by eight-year-old youngsters, and it starts to get heated. I gave Nick Ryan a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. The “card” was actually a piece of construction paper, and the only reason he wasn’t kicked out of the game was because I’d neglected to bring a piece of red version of the warning rectangle.
His coach, whose daughter is a classmate of mine who would end up being a mother in her teens, kept coming onto the field to yell at me. My father used to be his teacher when he a kid, but evidently he didn’t teach him very well. He would berate his own son throughout the game for his lack of athleticism. I kick him off the field and am proud of myself for standing up to a bully, albeit an actual grown man bully.