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oin me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Curtis

As Curtis walks down the hall toward his locker he is greeted with smiles, cheers, and high-fives! He’s a hero and he has learned to greet every smile with one of his own. Sometimes it’s really difficult to return those smiles and sometimes it is even difficult to make the walk down the hall, a hero’s walk, if you will.

Curtis doesn’t think he’s a hero. He just sort of fell into the role when the gym teacher discovered he was the quarterback his high school football team was severely lacking. They trained him to hone the natural skills and they build up the anticipation. When his father wouldn’t let him join the team, the coaches even talked to him and convinced him. And the glory days began. His popularity soared and everyone knew his name and his face.

But Curtis’ life didn’t feel like anything special. Sure, he was a great football player and he received the compliments and the pats on the back with outward gratitude. Inside Curtis hated the attention and he hated the physical pats on the back because they were almost always hurting the bruises that only the padding he wore during practice and games could protect. The kudos he received stopped when he walked in the door at home. Curtis missed the hugs and the love that had disappeared when his mother lost her battle with cancer. Cancer had taken his mom and Curtis’ happiness. It had also claimed his father. Once his mom was gone, Curtis’ dad was lost to drinking and bitterness and meanness. Curtis hated it but he felt sorry for his dad, and after all, he was his dad and he hadn’t always been cruel. It wasn’t his dad’s fault, just like it wasn’t his mom’s fault that she had gotten sick and died. It wasn’t anyone’s fault.

Curtis hated the attention but he made the most of it because it was his ticket out of the house and away from his father. That’s what he was thinking as he walked down the hallway smiling and high-fiving.

 

Alexa

Babs

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When I was in high school, I went to every single football game from my freshman year through my senior year.I loved going.At first, I would ride the “rooter bus” because our school did not have a football field with lighting for night games and all varsity games were night games.Our school played at the PAL (Police Athletic League) stadium.So I would get on the rooter bus for the game.The rooter bus left right after the team bus and the marching band bus so we got to the stadium long before the game began.If we got to the rooter bus before the team left, we could line up outside the bus and the team would come running through the path we had made as they got on the bus.Once at the game, the energy was electric.We cheered and screamed and yelled and clapped and stomped.I remember bending my class ring at one game.I was standing next to the rail and got excited when our team had possession of the ball so I started banging my hand on the metal rail.Before I knew it, I had bent my ring.

Later, my sister would drive us to the games.We would fill the car with people to drive to the games at the PAL stadium or at other schools if they were home games for the other team.I also remember my uncle taking me, and sometimes my sister, to the homecoming game which was held at San Jose’s City College stadium.The crowd at the homecoming game was about triple the size of the crowd for a regular game.We always had the crowning of the Homecoming Queen and her Court during halftime and I remember one of my friends was a majorette (do they still call them that?) and was the only one on the baton team that could twirl fire batons.The lights would be turned off just before she began her twirling and the whole stadium was lit by fire batons held by the other girls and then the twirling of her batons lit up the sky as she tossed them way up high and caught them as they came back down.It was an “ooooh and ahhhhh” show, every time.

When my sister graduated and I got my license, I would take a car load of friends to the game.By the time I drove, my parents had kind of slacked off a bit and they would let me go to one of the hangouts with a bunch of kids after the game.I remember going to Round Table Pizza with a bunch of the kids, including the football players.We would pool our money and buy pizza and pitchers of soda and play songs on the juke box.

When I went to college, I went to most of the games my freshman year but sort of stopped after that.My school didn’t usually (and still doesn’t) have a winning team.The team was full of scholars, not athletes (although Plunkett and Elway came from my school and we did make it to a bowl game while I was a student there), so it wasn’t as much fun to go to those games.Besides, it became uncool to go to the games after freshman year.I had changed dorms.My dorm mates weren’t into the school spirit thing so it was very uncool to go to games.

Once I became a mom with kids in high school, I went to the football games to watch my daughter in the Booster Team (they stayed in the stands and did cheers and synchronized routines in their uniforms) and the next year, when she was no longer on that team, we still went to the games.I would be the responsible mom that would take my Explorer full of giddy girls to the games then take them out for a snack afterwards.

I miss that.I miss the excitement of the crowd and the energy.I miss the collective rooting of a large group, cheering for a common end.

Sometimes I leave the TV on when there’s a college game being telecast.It’s not the same but it lets me remember the times I miss and why I miss them.

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