When I was six years old

When I was six years old the other kids would make me the unofficial referee in the foot-hockey games we played. I always felt weird about that.

We played with a tennis ball, on an asphalt surface, between two chain-link fences, about 200 feet apart. I usually played defense. I was the last guy between them and our goalie, who protected the net (the fence posts) wearing his jacket off his body on his arms like an apron. There are tens of thousands of kids who grew up playing goalie this way. For all of us, tennis-ball soccer was real hockey.

I was good at defense. Especially blocking shots and picking the ball off the forward. A lot of the time there was dispute over whether someone had actually scored. Everyone on each team would argue for their side, that the ball definitely did go in or it didn't.

Except I could never bring myself to argue for my side if I thought we were wrong - that, as far as I saw, our guy's shot did not go in the net. The thing was, I wish our team did score, so if we in fact did not, I was always reluctant to tell what I saw. I wanted those guys to settle it  themselves. But eventually one of them would ask what I saw. I hated that.

How could my teammates not be honest and just let it drop if we didn't score? Why did I have to come down against my own side? But I had this reputation, see--that I wouldn't take advantage. That I wouldn't lie. As soon as I told them what I thought happened, the argument was usually over. Everyone would repeat what I said about the ball going in or not going in. The game would go on. Some of teammates would be upset that, because of me, we didn't score, but they didn't seem to argue.

To this day I think about how bizarre that was. I was six years old and I had this quasi-judicial authority. I loved foot hockey. I guess I should have felt complimented they relied on me to be the ref and make the call. Instead I felt annoyed, embarrassed, and alone.

Stop arguing, be honest and solve your own problems, people!

1 comment:

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Honesty will sometimes leave you in precisely that spot.

Good for you for being honest from the very early beginning. :) I think rather highly of that.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

PS - got your last comment through email, but Blogger ate it... so it didn't show up in the post. Thank you for stopping by.