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The Grade Six Cup

It probably has to do with all the beautiful days and nights we have been getting lately; these memories I recall with such fondness.

There is nothing in the world quite like being 11 years old. Many of my most favorite memories come from the year I was in Grade Six.
You remember it, too.
It was the last time boys and girls were allowed to be 'just friends'. You were excited to be off to middle school the following year. And it did not hurt you were part of the "Kings" on the playground. Every other kid in lower grades hated you and yet could not wait to be you. You know this because you were once them. You have paid your dues. It was the first time you experienced power at your fingertips and it was yours alone to decide what to do with.
There was an imposed soccer league at our school that all the Grade Four, Five and Six's were forced to participate in.
I was one of the kids thrilled to. My Uncle Jack had taught me lots over the years about soccer in the backyard. I could stop most of his hardest shots.
Rene was another kid who was thrilled to be playing soccer. He had a history steeped rich in it and his father and him watched games on TV together. He became captain of the team I was on. He was also a fellow classmate.
I might have fought his authority more, had he not let me be goalie for the first half of all games.
He was surprised when he realized I was so good.
Rene was a top scoring player. I never let in a goal all season. We never lost one game. Together, Rene and I helped create "The Team". We were fought over by other kids for recess battles.
We shared the glory well. We handed out tips to younger players and helped many of the less soccer -inclined win a few recess games.

It was the end of the school day when teachers stopped the first Championship game. It had been going on for over an hour. I had been in goal the whole time.
The other team had lost only two games all season. They were pretty tough. We had not had the chance to go up against them since mid-season when they were still finding their groove.
The game was halted with a 0-0 score.
The teachers decided the game could continue the next day after the last recess.
It started to hail 20 minutes into the game. The teachers let us play for five minutes longer, hoping the hail was enough of a disturbance for someone to score.
It was not to be and with hail the size of pinballs, the teachers once again halted the no-goal game.
It was then decided by the teachers the game would resume the next day after lunch break. It had now become apparent to them the obvious stamina of excited youth. They decided to give us enough time to wear ourselves ragged. Someone would get sloppy. They hoped. They were getting bored of watching us.
Lunch hour broke the next day and we fought hard for the next hour and twenty minutes. I was not as tired as Rene. He was doing an awesome job at keeping the ball away from our net for almost a full hour before my job really kicked in.
The teachers sighed and decided we could all use the break for recess.
Collectively, both of our teams collapsed in the shade and did not move for the next 18 minutes.
The teachers then decided on a shoot-out. You could see the annoyance in their eyes.
Each player on each team would get a chance to score on a goalie from the opposite team. It would go in 'baseball innings'. Who ever ended up on top after both teams got their chance would be the winner.
Our team was up first. We did not score.
I remember Rene nodding at me when I took net. I knew all the years of backyard practice would come in handy now. I nodded back.
I did not let in one goal. The teachers were rolling their eyes.
I was pumped as I stood in line waiting for my turn.
I wish I could say the moment I kicked the ball, everything slowed down to slow motion. I did not. But that ball hit net.
I scored.
Me.
The goalie.
Rene actually slapped my ass as he met up with me to talk new strategy while the other team was lining up for their turn.
"I am going in goal," he said. "I am the captain."
I looked at him carefully. He was worn out. But we had shared the glory all season long.
I had scored.
I nodded.
"Let's win this fucking thing," I whispered to him.

Rene ended up letting in two goals. I do not know what would have happened had I been in goal. I might have let in more. I may have let in none.
Rene had chose to wield his Grade Six power at the wrong time. But that is okay. Grade Six is about learning from your first stumbles towards adulthood.
Besides, I still walked away from it with the achievement of not letting in one goal all season.
I bet that is one record still not broken.

Tonight is the night, boys. You have the power to achieve Stanely Cup victory.
Canada waits at the edge of our seats...

Comments

katie said…
i went back and read all your entries. i hate to be redundant of you but you truly surround yourself with good things too. i guess it takes one to know one. it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon right now and i cannot wait till dusk so i can take a walk on a cool summer night. thanks for reminding me of a lot of stuff.
Queenie said…
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my words. This is more appreciated than you will ever know. Q.

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