The Sporting Life
The Sporting Life
This is a great time of year for sports fans, with the beginning of college and pro football, Premier League soccer games have started, and the Giants are still in the hunt, though I hope they are still relevant by the time you are reading this.
Iím not sure why Iím such an avid follower of sports that Iíve never been very good at. Wishful thinking, I guess.
My sports resume is fairly thin, starting with soccer at Cathedral School for Boys in San Francisco. We practiced at Marina Green since our on-site playing surface was what we called ďThe Roof.Ē And for good reason too, since it was, actually, the roof of the school. For games, we had to trek all the way out to the Beach Chalet near the ocean, where it was normally foggy and freezing Ė the uniform shorts were a lot shorter back then, you know.
I played fullback, and discovered a great way of stopping people was sacrificing my body and ending up on the ground, prompting the nickname, ďDirty Al.Ē
By some miracle (we did go to a religious school after all), in seventh grade we actually won our league, which gave our team and coach high hopes for our last year at the school as eighth graders. Iím not sure what happened, but we didnít play very well. Maybe we were distracted by Spiro Agnew resigning or the Yom Kippur War, or maybe it was because of that tough love speech from our coach that began, ďWhatís wrong with you?Ē A great motivator.
Baseball at Cathedral was equally unmemorable. I played the outfield and positioned myself about as far back as possible to make sure the ball would stay in front of me and I didnít have to catch anything. Of course, one time some kid managed to hit a fly ball all the way to me. What happened next is kind of a blur, but it wasnít good. I had a favorite bat, but unfortunately I never learned what it was for. I looked good carrying it around though.
High school was limited to pick-up basketball games during lunch, where I would hang around the perimeter and just shoot any time I got the ball. I didnít want to get hurt driving to the basket Ė duh. My nickname was Hondo, after Boston Celtic great John Havlicek, who liked to shoot as much as I did. The difference was that he actually got the ball in the hoop.
College sports was fun because of intramurals. Coed sports? Iím in. I did play on an all-male touch football team for my dorm one year. Somehow, I accidentally broke a guyís nose as he was running over me. I played co-ed softball, ultimate Frisbee, and soccer. Our soccer team actually did quite well, losing a playoff heartbreaker on penalty kicks. The teamís name was called Toby Charles, and you get extra points if you know who that was without running to the Internet.
I think Ann is trying to get me back into the sporting life. For my birthday recently she gave me a basketball, golf balls, and a bocce ball set. Which is great, because I know I canít miss that basketball with my five-iron.
Editor & Publisher