We played street football; two-hand touch. The players varied in age and stage of development. That meant the older guys dominated and the younger ones learned fast. But spritely little fireflies would run past bigger defenders and still avoid the fenders of cars parked along the curb. They called me “Bambi” because I made these fingertip catches like Alworth. Anything thrown here or there I would snare with ease. And since I could breeze past my older brother’s friends to the second telephone pole, it would usually end in six points.
But, I would learn the hard way (and I pay for it until this day!) Touch football games from pole to pole steal your soul when an errant pass thrown out of control comes your way. Not another kid alive would be so dumb as to take a dive to catch one thrown into the gravel. Sliding face first up the curb, abrasions and all, it was amazing I even hung onto the ball. “If you bruise, you lose!” my brother said. “Don’t feel bad, you could’ve been dead!” For some silly reason, it didn’t make me feel better as my bloodied nose made my shirt get redder and my two front teeth lay strewn on the street, (how can I function wiffouf my fwont teef?) But with my face battered and my tongue sticking through, I looked so raccoon with my face black and blue!
It is only fun
until somebody gets hurt
with a blood stained shirt.
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016