For moment #3, let’s again go back into my distant past.
Picture it: Senior in High school. I had hair and a letter jacket—hands down the best combo to picking up chicks that age short of being a misunderstood 21 year old rebel that could buy beer.
I was cocky beyond belief but did not know it yet. If I had a rock band, which I didn’t, I’m sure I would have described myself as a rock god because I have always wanted to be described as a rock god. I wouldn’t describe myself as popular by any means. But I wasn’t unpopular. In truth, I don’t know what I was because my entire world was consumed with playing High School football.
You’ve got to understand high school football in the state of Texas to understand my mindset. We were coddled and worshiped like you wouldn’t believe and I wasn’t even any kind of prospect. I would say that I was decent but not a player that college scouts were waiting to see play. But it didn’t matter because in the state of Texas, if you are on the Varsity football team, you are loved without question.
I was assigned a little hottie who’s major job each week was to make me cookies and other assorted goodies. People knew who you were around our town. People that you had never even seen would know you. Before each game hundreds of people would surround you and cheer you as you came out of the locker room. And on Fridays, sweet Fridays, we were allowed to skip glass for the entire morning after the pep rally so that the local church could get the privilege, yes privilege!, of cooking us a 20 course breakfast. And all this was school sponsored and encouraged.
In short, the hero worship was disgusting but good lord do I still miss it sometimes. At least I’m honest.
I took it all for granted because I was 17 and did not realize how good that I had it. Pretty much all I cared about was playing football. I devoted my entire year to it. I dropped out of other sports, I worked out year round. I ignored just about everything else. I had 2 friends ( they didn’t play football) that I hung out with and that was about it. I don’t think I was a snob or even a “jock”, I was just unattached to the other people. Fuck it, sure, I was an ass.
Everyone though wants popularity in High school and I suppose I was no different. As a peon freshman I dreamed that one day the entire school would want to be me, to know me, to touch me in the bathing suit zones. Who wants to be my friend, the line starts to the right. That was the dream.
As a senior, I was as close as I ever was going to be to being that person. All I needed was that final recognition, that final acknowledgment of my greatness that would be shattered so soon the moment you step on a college campus and realize that you are nothing but shit.
I got the chance when in the middle of the year I was asked to speak at a pep rally. I’m sure you have seen this in countless movies. The football player gets up to the microphone while the band plays kick ass drums. You hold your hands up as if to say People, I am hither, flock to me!!
This was my moment. This was the time where I would finally get to be that guy that everyone loved and wanted to be. Women would not only throw their panties at me, they would bring their mother’s panties to throw as well. Rock God, here I come.
The appointed day comes and we I slip on my letter jacket even though it is close to 90 degrees outside, as is our custom among dipshit high schoolers. We line up just outside the gym and the doors fling open. The light blazes on us as we enter, boy gods. The crowd is screaming, the band is playing those kick ass drums that celebrate our greatness as we strut to our places of glory in the middle of the floor.
Our school had about 2000 people. Of course not all of them attended the pep rally because I am assuming they could not bear the sight of such magnificence in person but it was a good turn out none the less. We take our seats and the crowd is still screaming in ectasy. These are my people, these are my subjects. Please ladies, hold the panties until I speak.
The principle and the football coach gave their speeches which I knew were just a warm up to the onslaught of school spirit that I was about to spew fourth. Yes, little ones, get yourselves into a frenzy for the Hossman!
Finally our moment came and I and 3 others strolled to the microphone. I spoke first, best to start out with something strong so as to keep the people entertained.
This is what I came up with: “We’ve worked real hard to bring in a win. Come out and support us. Keller High School football rules!”
That’s all I had. It’s one of the major disappointments in my life that with all my quick thinking that that was the best I came up with. Christ, it’s straight from a cereal box. But I couldn’t help it because as soon as I got up there the crowd just looked so massive, so huge. The Rock God in me had not realized that public speaking could be such an issue. For some reason I thought that maybe I would have something meaningful to say, something on the same level as say Chaucer. If Braveheart had come out by that time, I would have given the Mel Gibson speech. That would have been cool. But nope, I came up with the cliché speech and couldn’t say another thing as the crowd waited. And waited. And waited.
But then I passed the mike off to one of the lesser Rock Gods as is to signify that I was to good to say anything else. The crowd erupted, they were satisfied with the speech and in hindsight I don’t think they expected anything else. The rest gave their speeches, pretty much saying the same thing.
We were done with them and started the required strut back to our places of honor. I was looking at the floor, trying to relish the moment and realizing that I was an idiot and in way over my head with the whole Rock God thing. I was immersed in my own thoughts.
That is probably why I didn’t see the cheerleader doing the back handsprings right towards me. And it’s also probably the reason why I didn’t slow my speed down or at least avert my path so that I wouldn’t collide with her. I just kept on walking straight while she wind milled towards me.
I didn’t even realize what happened until it was to late. It would appear, if newspaper reports are accurate, that the cheerleader’s foot kicked me in the side of the head on one of her final handsprings. The result being that she lost all kinds of balance and went uncontrolled 30 feet into the air with arms and legs flailing about like she was a rag doll. I’m also assuming that there was a big thud when she hit the ground, but again, I have blacked all this out so that I cannot be sure.
My moment, my time to shine, and I bull over a cheerleader in front of 1000 people. There was a collective moan from the crowd and then a hush as people were seeing if she was hurt. I would have no idea if she was because I didn’t even bother to go check on her as I just fast walked back to my seat to hide. I left her lying on the ground, agreed—not very Hoss.
I have no idea if she was ok or not because I have never asked and rarely speak of that moment in my life now. 20 minutes later the whole school knew about it and knew who had did it. Even my mom heard about it for Christ’s sake. My moment has now become a nightmare but one that I have used since that time.
Because now I am no longer afraid to speak in front of crowds. I relish the opportunity because I pretty much know that it can never be that bad again. All I have to do now after I speak in front of crowds is to keep my eyes out for cheerleaders doing back handsprings.
I will once again have the opportunity to have my Rock God moment and when it comes, I will watch where I am going.