Son, Just Don’t

, , , | Learning | April 17, 2019

(When my brother is sixteen he is just starting to fill out, but still looks gangly and breakable. However, having been into sports since he was three and having two older siblings who are rough on him, he’s a lot tougher than he looks. He’s playing soccer, and one of the guys on the other team is being an absolute terror but is good enough to hide his cheating from the referees. This frustrates everyone on my brother’s team, as well as the refs since they can’t kick him out if they can’t catch him. Eventually, my brother’s coach decides to place my brother opposite him. To the surprise of absolutely no one — we are all very involved in the soccer community, and all of the refs and a majority of the players and coaches in our age range know us, at least by reputation, if not personally — the first time that kid tries this with my brother, he is laid out flat. My brother doesn’t bother to hide what he is doing and is given a yellow card. The opposing coach pulls his player. Standing near the team benches, my mom is in a good position to hear the player and the coach talking about it. For context, a yellow card is a warning and a red card is an ejection from the game. Two yellows automatically add up to a red.)

Player: “I’m fine, Coach! I can still play!”

Coach: “You’re not going back out this game.”

Player: “C’mon, he’s already got a yellow. I’ll be fine.”

Coach: *exasperated* “Exactly! He’s already got a yellow! On the next hit, he’s leaving the field, anyway. He has no more reason to hold back! If I put you back on that field, you’re leaving it on a stretcher!”

(Exactly right, Coach. Exactly right. The player sat out the rest of the game and my brother carried the record of his yellow with pride. The player was a lot less vicious after that, now that the idea for how to be rid of him for good was planted. My brother was far from the only one willing to sit out two games if it came to it.)

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