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A Man's Sport

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Flynn Taylor, of Bartham Pride’s junior class, walked to fifth period, which was gym. Gym was more sport than actual fitness training. They played basketball, baseball, hockey and football. Flynn had never liked football.

The gymnasium was huge and had dark wood floors and lights that brought out the waxy, yellow sheen in people’s skin. Coach Chuck toyed with a football in his hands. Laying his fingers on the laces, he threw the ball; a perfect spiral. Hitting the other end other of the gym wall the ball fell to the ground; Coach began, “Football, boys, is one of America’s fine sports; the greatest of them all. So team up. Delco and Leader our are team captains.

John Delco and Katy Leader moved to opposite sides of the gym. Of course, Delco picked boys and Leader chose girls. Flynn shuffled to the back of the gym.

Taking the football in hand, Delco called positions to teammates. Flynn was picked as a running back; he had no idea what he was supposed to do. Coach blew the whistle and Delco called out numbers and bolted. His teammates parading past him, Flynn stood like a statue.

After a moment, he darted like a gazelle to catch up to them. Delco passed him the ball and, somehow, Flynn managed to catch it. Praying to anything and everything, Flynn threw the ball…to their side. Delco let out a grunt of anger and a bark of laughter.

Leader flew past Flynn, making his green shirt rustle with an artificial breeze. Barely stopping, Leader intercepted the ball, still running, she slammed the ball into the floor on their side caused Coach to blow his whistle.

“Touchdown for Leader. Taylor, come here.” He crooked his finger and motioned to Flynn. Flynn’s feet moved to the front of the large room, every step seeming like a baby’s. “This…bright man here can’t play football for his life. He doesn’t understand the plays, or the moves, or the structure of the game. He will never get a scholarship for sports. Ever,” he paused. “Boys, hit the showers. Girls, do whatever you want. Taylor, get out of my gym.”

Taylor skipped steps to the locker room, grabbed his bag and went to the locker room to change. Exiting the bathroom, Delco barred his way. “Taylor,” he teased, dragging Flynn’s last name out in a long drawl. “How was getting chewed out by Coach like? Painful, hurtful, embarrassing? I just wanted to know how you could let that chick Leader beat you in football. Football is a man’s sport. Unless you’re not a man. Are you?”




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