When I was a senior in high school, I almost killed a sixth grader in front of his parents while surrounded by blood thirsty friends cheering me on. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. Not really. Maybe it is. Fucking relax and let me tell the story.
Back in high school, my idealistic little suburban neighborhood was ridiculously obsessed with backyard football. Not all that original I guess and it wasn’t, but our “thing” was that we didn’t go in for any of that “pussy shit” in most backyard games. It was all tackle, all the time. None of that 2-hand-touch bullshit. No flag football. No sudden time outs because your glasses fell off (find them AFTER the game, asshole!). We hit like animals, we bleed, we swore like Scottish sailors. Penalties were called and enforced under the threat of a face beating. You got hurt, you walked it off and played it off. I still have scars to go with a few last-minute heroics.
If you seriously were sackless enough to stop playing because your pussy glasses broke or your pinky was suddenly bending the wrong way, then that was your last game with us. Those were the assholes that were relegated to standing off on the sides, watching us and whining “This is fuckin’ stupid anyway. We should be getting drunk! I’m gonna go drink some beers anyway. You guys suck!” and then a football would suddenly smack him in the face and break his glasses again and it was fucking awesome (Drink THAT, Robby!). More than a few guys broke some bones during those few years. It was glorious and righteous and an essential right-of-passage into manhood.
And I can tell you one thing we were particularly serious about (especially me) was that we finished every game. First team to 35pts. No bitching out. Finish the fucking game. Fuck the weather. Your girlfriend can wait (She’s not putting out anyway, Andy! I was at her house last night and I turned her out for like a fucking week so HIKE THE FUCKING BALL!). If you seriously wanted to try to get home “before my mom gets worried. Dinner is at 7 and...” then somebody was taking a dump in your locker tomorrow. Seriously. We would jack your locker open and Eddie would spread his cheeks and plop a Cleveland Steamer right on your math book. That was his thing. Eddie had problems.
And so it was under these very strict and very serious conditions that the game of May 15, 1995 commenced.
Now, our games were predominately made up of high schoolers (ages 15-18) and occasionally a few junior high kids that were big for their age. And there was this one homeless guy that was probably like 40 that would wander by and play but that was rare (and seriously, Smelly-Pants Pete could run a square-out like a god damn pro. Don’t let anyone tell you meth has no benefits). But hey, if we were short on guys and some pip squeak little grade schooler wanted to run out there and catch fly patterns…his funeral. We even let a girl play once. I think she was a freshman and thought this was the best way to get “in with the guys”. I heard she still walks with a slight limp.
So anyway, it was Saturday afternoon and we were commencing activities in Russell Anderson’s backyard. Russell’s backyard was fucking heaven for us. No fucking trees, no shrubs. Just wide open grass. His father was a fucking douche bag who didn’t want us anywhere near his lovely grass, so we had to take full advantage when Russell’s parents weren’t home. Russell’s father also had a shit-load of beer in the garage fridge. Anyway, we were short a guy to begin with so we were forced to let Russell’s little brother, Eric, play to even things out. The kid was a shrimpy 6th grader who probably topped out at about 90lbs. But fuck it.
Right from the get go, shit just went down hill fast. Two guys smacked their skulls together going for a hail mary and had severe problems keeping themselves standing. We told them they could stay back and block but then the one guy starting vomiting from his concussion (fucking pansy) and crawled over to the side of the lawn and the other guy followed saying something about being blind in his right eye. Those were two guys who were gonna have a fun locker surprise Monday morning. It only got worse from there. Two more went down with some bullshit ailments. LIke blood coming out of your ear is really that big of a deal. Then Andy went out on a fly pattern and just kept on running, screaming he had to meet his girlfriend and please shit on his english book not his social studies or something. I made a mental note to remind Eddie to eat a huge dinner Sunday night.
At that point, the game was fucked. It was basically me, Russell, and Russell’s little brother, Eric. The primary rule, the core directive, was in danger. Tradition was being pissed on.
“I…I can get some more people,” Eric squeaked.
“Shut up, Eric. We aren’t playing with a bunch of fucking midgets,” Russell screams at him.
My mental gears started turning…clashing with my pistons of humility and ethics. The 6 or 7 beers I had drunk by that point helped me along as well.
“Hold the fuck up,” I said. “We finish the game. We always finish the game. It’s 28-21. I need one more fucking TD and it’s over.”
“Dude, no!” yells Russell.
“Call your friends, Eric. Move your little legs!”
Fifteen minutes later, the yard was filled with eleven-year-olds who hadn’t even touched puberty yet. Russell’s head was hanging down in disgust.
“Your ball, Russell. Line your munchkins up and let’s fucking finish.”
“I can’t believe I’m doing this. We are…what’s wrong with us, Rick?” he mutters.
We start up again and I am just drilling these fucking kids. It’s like a dream come true. I am a God among men. I put a shoulder to their little frames and they sail like 10 feet back. I finally stop telling them to quit crying and figure the tears just help them deal with the pain. My wounded friends on the sidelines start cheering me on. It was like the Roman Coliseum and I was killing me some catholics.
And of course this is when Jillian Sweeney, the hottest fucking chick in the fucking county has to drive by with all her hot-ass friends and catches a visual of me and Russell playing football with a bunch of elementary kids. Like any high school mean girl, she has to pull up on the side of the road and start laughing her ass off. So the other chicken heads in her car do the same thing.
“The fuck are you doing, Rick?” she yells.
I avoid eye contact. It’s our ball. Gotta finish the game.
“Are you guys like fucking perverts or something? Feeling up little kids for-”
Finish the game.
“How’s the genital warts, Jillian? Your sister said you had it bad and the cream wasn’t working. Weird though…I heard your stepdad has the same fucking thing. How ’bout that….” Whatever. She was never gonna screw me anyway.
“Fuck you, Rick! Pervert!” And off she peeled. Took me two months to shake the “Rick The Molester” moniker after that. Thank God Smelly Pants Pete wasn’t there. No, strike that. Smelly Pants could run a proper square-out at least.
“Rick! I’m out…can’t do this!” Russell yells and runs into his house without looking back.
“Are you fucking KIDDING me?!” I look out at the rest of the bleeding, grade school army in front of me. “Okay, fuck it. Eric, you’re on their team now. Take your brother’s spot. We’ll play a man down.”
One more play. I just needed to peg one of these little fucks in the chest and the game was over. I had this. Finish the game. I snap it and send my whole fucking squad out on a hail mary. Nobody blocking so I’m just running around with these little fucks hanging on my ankles. I think I started screaming like a viking and just heave the ball with everything I got.
And fucking Eric picks it off.
And he’s running back down the field.
No. No fucking way.
The rest of this incident was pieced together from eyewitness accounts and police depositions. They are considered relatively factual:
“Rick let out some kind of animal squeal, kinda sounded like a poodle getting hit by a car, and he just B-lines right for Eric. Like a madman. He lost it.”
“He ran by us screaming a bunch of ‘Fuck You’s’ and we saw Eric’s eyes go wide. I think Eric shit his pants right then…or maybe it was after. We don’t know. I know Eric flooded his underoos though. Like bad…”
“Then Rick just plows into that little kid like full force and just levels him into the ground. There was like a path of dirt behind them, like a meteor hit or something. The ball goes flying. There was blood…”
“Rick stands up over the little kid, who like shit his pants and his nose was all bloody…and he was like, whimpering. And Rick bends over and picks up the ball and has a beer in his other hand and he just stands over him and starts screaming something about “finishing the game” or something…”
“And that’s when we saw that Eric’s parent’s had come home during all this and the mom was just standing on the back deck looking at Rick…and Eric was all bleeding and stuff and shit was coming out of his shorts. And she screams ‘My baby! What have you done?!’ And Rick just keeps screaming out formations, like he wants to get one more play in or something. Dude was fucking whacked.”
The game of May 15th, 1995 was never finished. My community service went pretty smoothly that summer. Eric made a complete recovery and now hangs out with Smelly Pants Pete behind the 7-11.
Oh, and Jillian actually WAS screwing her stepfather, it turns out. I was like totally making the shit up at the time but…wow. Cosmic.
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