One of the Guys

I always acted as though I was one of the guys. Like in stories, I was the little girl who tagged along and joined their games. I was the shrimp of the bunch.
When it came to football I was a wreck. Not only was I horrible at everything somehow I even managed to screw up my own team’s plays. Hence every time I asked to play, I was picked last. It would always be the same way, and the team who got stuck with me would groan and glare, and I would glare right back.
I guess a good description of me was wild. I had a curly, brown, mass of hair on my head and a lean and tan body. I was short and as tough as nails. I would run barefoot on the street in hundred degree weather on any summer day in Austin. I had a reputation of getting in mud, water, and paint fight, along with fighting off most of the boys on my block. I even made one cry after he called me fat and I took him out with a super soaker. This is briefly a description of my young, hostile, wild self.
Whether it was football, basketball, baseball, kickball, four square, hide and go seek tag, or any other game, you would see me there. Guaranteed.
This is how I grew up, always trying to be one of the guys.

I don’t exactly remember when everything clicked, but I’m guessing around 7th grade, when I was twelve. It was fall and perfect football season. The field by my house was sticker-free and we all had an excuse to wear coats and jackets for extra padding.
The game started as usual, the oldest boys being team captains and choosing their teams. Me, of course, being picked last.
Thirty minutes in, my team was behind 0-1. We never got many touchdowns.
My QB was making a desperate attempt on 4th down, to do a Hail Mary. In the huddle, he told us all to just get open. Like that was easy to do.
We hiked the ball, and I took off for the far end of the field, turning to see not a single soul after me. They all knew I wouldn’t get passed too, so they didn’t even bother guarding me.

That’s when I heard, “Rachael!” And saw the ball flying across the entire spans of the field, feeling my arms reach out and pluck it from the air. Got it.
“I-I got it!” I said incredulously. Raising both arms in the air and shouting in triumph. My captain, Jay, was tearing down the field, screaming, “Run!” My whole team joining in.
I looked, saw the defender approaching, and sprinted downfield, thanking God that speed was one of my talents.
Touchdown.

Suddenly, I was seen in a whole new light. I wasn’t just the “girl”, I was a friend, and fellow teammate. I even played the rest of the game well, at one time acting as QB and throwing a Hail Mary that ended in another touchdown, with my team winning the game.
I swear, right then, my life was complete.
Afterwards, the boys would defend my skills to their friends, who never wanted a girl to play. They’d just say, “Dude, she’s awesome!” And it would be the end of that discussion.
I never was so proud.

That was years ago now. The boys don’t play ball anymore and I rarely see them. Some of the older guys I’ll hang out with occasionally, but its never the same.
Some call it growing up, but for me, it’s a little sad. What do we do for fun now? Nothing better, let me tell you.

I hold those memories close, and will cherish the stories forever. When I have my own daughter one day, I will sit her in my lap, take the barbie from her hands and tell her that once, her mother was one of the guys.





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teeninkwriter said...
Dec. 18, 2010 at 10:53 am
Liked the story. Good work:)
 
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