The previous post about playing football in grade school got me thinking about another event that happened to me. Another diamond in the rough so to say. I remember when I received my practice jersey. It was a shitty throw away rag-like thing, but I was so excited. Some of the kids who had played the year before said “just wait til you see the game jerseys.” The game jerseys!? I could not wait. I imagined them being these glorious bright white jerseys. As if Heaven had a football team, these would be their uniforms. Like the moment in Pulp Fiction when they finally open up the suitcase. We never see what’s inside, but it’s so bright and glorious we don’t need to know. In this scenario, it would have been my grade school jersey. The day finally came. All the kids met in the gym before the game. The IC Cowboys was who we were. I’ll never forget the excitement of the other kids when they received their jerseys. They held them up in admiration. I thought to myself. This is it. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I pictured myself holding the jersey for the first time like I was Rudy Ruettiger. I imagined myself jumping on the bleachers and giving that speech that Rudy gives in the locker room to himself. Something along the lines of “we’re gonna go inside, we’re gonna go outside, inside and outside” except no one would be inspired and instead everyone would just stare at me like I was talking an ancient language. “NALLEN, get over here!” shouted one of the coaches. Before I could even get up a jersey hit me in the face. Imagine this thing coming at about 100 mph. It fell to the ground. I was ecstatic. A jersey with my name on it! I admired the front. The feel of it. The number 18. The white and blue lettering. ‘Cowboys’ written across the front. I flipped it over. Across the back…MALLEN.


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