WATCH THE LANGUAGE

I’ve grown old and anecdotal. One thing earns the other. I’ll apologize for nothing. So this story.

Steve, I recall you in college as the nicest guy. You were tops amongst a bunch of athletes at Connecticut College that were both jockey and brainy. You were a terrific soccer player. In fact, all the guys on that Division III soccer team were exceptional atheletes. But oh man was there ever a rivalry with some team whose name I can’t even remember.

I recall fights, administrative threats to cancel games over behavior, suspensions from the team. So, of course going to these games was the thing to do because we never knew what was going to break out. And this opposing team was noted for tripping players dribbling to the goal.

Steve, you weren’t sizable. You were fast. You were a wicked ball handler. You wore that bandana like a streamlined, sociology-major pirate, making alopecia look cool, even to those who had no idea of what or what. You had a quick smile. But you had the temper for the team. And you had a mouth. You swore stuff that I recall as my first time hearing such, and I’m from Philly. You called people parts of anatomy that I had to look up later. And I was a biology major.

And you were coming down the pitch in this high stakes, contentious, mid-season meeting, at breakneck speed, with but one defender left in front of you ready to juke and steal that pentagon-patterned sphere from your dancing drive, and don’t you know this guy’s shin-guarded shank sticks out with no intent to the ball. You rolled three times before Newton’s Laws said “ OK, enough".

The moment we had waited for. Our motivation for a quicker than usual dinner. The reason we skipped late Friday biology lab work. You sprung up, got right in this guy's face, arms rigid at your sides so that you were nipple to nipple with this soon to be eviscerated senior fullback, and, spittle flying, said for all to hear. “YOU DOOKIE”.

Just as the ref’s whistle blew, Team Captain Peter someone replied. “Yeah, Steve. You told him”. in the driest, most deadpan accolade I’d ever heard.

Steve, in a world where sandbox name calling inflicts itself upon us as the new norm by both world leaders and Facebook soon to be ex-friends, I thank you. I’m laughing still.

XOVG

updated: 1 month ago