Monday, May 4, 2020

LBDM Episode 24: 7th Grade Memories- How It All Started To Go BAD

LBDM Episode 24:
7th Grade Memories:
How It All Started To Go BAD

The worst year I spent at Judson was my 7th grade year, no doubts about that.

And the not-so-funny thing about it is it all started to go wrong one nice Spring day in 1980 during my 6th grade year.

What happened that day (and the next day following) is something I will never forget and something I can just barely forgive those involved. As everyone knows by now, I love football. I loved it even more so when I was a kid. I loved playing football, I loved watching it on TV or seeing it in person, I collected football cards at the time, read football magazines, read the newspaper just to read the football articles, and even drew football pictures. So when the PE coach at the time, Coach Hendricks, gave all the 6th grade boys permission forms to play 7th grade football for the Judson Blue Devils, I was more than excited to get the form. The 8th grade team that year didn’t win not a single game, and by this time, our anger at being sent to this loser school had abated, and we now looked forward to at least making (and definitely changing) some history of our own. We (the 6th graders) talked about what kind of teams we would have the following year and what positions we were going to try out for. Being one of the fastest 6th grade boys at the time, everyone thought I should try out for running back, but I wanted to play defense, either cornerback or safety. If I HAD to play offense, I’d try out for wingback or wide receiver, but I would’ve been happy playing ANY position. Which made it all the more sadder what was to occur.

When I got off of the bus and walked into my house, only then did I feel a little ominous in what I was about to do. I figured I would ask Daddy if he’d sign the sheet and let me play football. I didn’t figure he would say anything other than “ok”. But I figured wrong. When I presented the form to him and asked him if I could play football, he said the WORST thing possible, even more so than saying an outright “No”-

He said, “Go ask your mother.”

To say I was aghast and instantly nauseated would be a total understatement. As much as I loved football, my mom HATED it that much. She thought that football was a waste of time and the worst sport of them all, even more so than boxing or something similar. I PLEADED with my daddy- I told him to PLEASE let me play football; he knew all Momma was going to say was an emphatic “NO”- I begged him to let me play, but he would not budge. “Go ask your mother.”

I was distraught. I knew it wouldn’t do any good, but I went and asked Momma anyway, and was not surprised when she said, “NO!” I couldn’t plead with her, she would take that as talking back and would give me a whipping for that- So I just retreated to my room, tears of frustration and anger burning my eyes. And yes, to be honest about it, I was even more so angry at Daddy than Momma, because all he had to do was sign the form and let me play football, but he refused. Our relationship went downhill after that for the next few years. But right now, I was sick to my stomach and thinking I was going to be the ONLY one who hadn’t been able to get his form signed by his parents.

The next day, believe it or not, was definitely WORSE. I went to school and the first thing everyone was talking about was who all had gotten their forms signed and were going to play football next year. The first thing I noticed were those (besides myself) who had NOT gotten their forms signed…mostly the geeks, nerds, and other “lowlifes”. And they were getting treated accordingly. I sighed and at first just tried to stay out of everyone’s way. Unfortunately, some of my friends surrounded me and asked me point blank did I get my form signed and was I ready to play some football. I bit the bullet and said “No”, that my parents wouldn’t let me play football. Of course, my “friends” didn’t believe me and I got called all kinds of names, specifically “coward” and “chicken” and WAY WORSE names than that. I was going through all kinds of emotions at that moment and felt it would be best if I exit the entire situation before it really got out of hand, then as I tried to walk away, one of my “friends” said, “yeah, just walk away, you ” and then he kicked me. I turned around abruptly to face him and we were about to fight, but then I just walked away to even more heckling. The guy who kicked me was (and is) a classmate and we were really good friends prior to this. It hurt that he would do something like that, and our friendship was never the same again. You expect that from an enemy, or from someone who doesn’t know any better, but not from a friend- which is why I walked away at the time.

And, deep down, I didn’t really blame any of the guys for their treatment of me (but don’t kick me while I’m down for crying out loud); I was more angry at my parents for causing me to go through this and knowing that they really didn’t care. Especially Daddy, who should’ve known better. It left a very dark mark on an otherwise decent 6th grade year, and it would lead to my worst year out of the three at JMS.

Next: 7th Grade Memories: The First Day of School

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