Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Big Game - Part One

By Ragnar

The big football match was on Saturday, as usual. But for Jack and the other players, this one was something special. This was not going to be the usual game against a team from another college. This time their opponents came from the local Juvenile Remedial Center – at least that was the fancy name for it. To everybody else in the town it was usually referred to as “Scumbag Camp” or more simply the “boot camp." It was well named as it held about a couple hundred of the worst scumbags in the county. These kids were the kind even their mothers hated! They were scarcely into their teens and they had already committed every offense – bar homicide – that they could think of!  Robbery – arson – mugging – gang fights – attempted rape – not to mention random acts of torture inflicted just for the pleasure of it! 

Over the months since its opening, the warden of the place somehow managed to band the worst thugs together to form what he  - laughingly! -called a football team. This was actually a last desperate attempt to deflect the kids anger and violence away from the guards and siphon it off  into safer channels. In fact, to direct it anywhere so long as his long suffering guards weren’t being sent to hospital each week with black eyes and broken arms and legs.

The warden had divided the inmates into two teams and set up regular matches between them every Saturday. It was a success from the first match. This time the guys going to the hospital afterwards weren’t his guards but the guys on the opposing teams – much to everybody’s relief! 

Incredibly enough, after a few months the teams became really good. So good that the warden got in touch with the principal of the local college and suggested that they set up a match between their team and his own. The principal then put the proposition to the football coach and the coach in turn put it to the players. Jack was all for it – as were the other players. They had heard stories of course about how tough these boot camp kids were but they didn’t give a shit about that!  All they cared about was a chance to play some real tough no-holds-barred football! 

It should be stated that the college football team also had a nasty reputation for “unnecessary roughness." Actually, that was somewhat of an understatement because whenever a game ended the field was usually left littered with players  rolling round holding their arms or legs or other more sensitive areas of their anatomy  and bawling their heads off in pain and sheer human misery. And these “war wounded” were always members of the opposing team! That spectacle always made Jack and the other players laugh like crazy – usually along with the crowd as well!  The other colleges of course complained constantly about the gratuitous brutality but the principal and his coach simply made “sympathetic noises” and secretly told their team to break more rules next time... which usually meant breaking more bones!

So on Saturday morning, Jack sat at breakfast table with his folks talking enthusiastically about the afternoon’s game. His parents and his younger sister would be there as well. At that moment his mother pushed a big bowl of cereal in front of him and nodded to him.

“Better eat a lot of protein son” she said. 

His father chuckled. 

“Yer that’s right,  boy” he said “from what I heard about those animals you are going against you’re gonna need it!” 

“Aw we can lick ‘em” – can’t we, Em?” said Jack, looking over at his twelve year old sister Emmy who totally  idolised him as her older brother. 

“By the way, honey,” said her father, looking toward her. “Don’t forget you have to put in an hour of cheerleader practise before we pick you up to go to the game." 

“Sure dad,” she replied. “I wouldn’t forget that – I love doing the dance moves!” Emmy was training to be a cheerleader and join the squad when she got older.

Her father gave her a knowing smile. Then he turned to his son again. “And remember, Jack, that these guys play rough – I know you and the other guys bend the rules somewhat, but these guys don’t even know what rules mean!"

 His sister laughed. “Oh Dad, they won’t beat Jack! He ‘ll just kick ‘em in the balls!”

For a second there was complete silence. 

Her father dropped his spoon while her mother stared at her in disbelief at what she had just said.

“Young lady did you just say what me and your father thought you just said!?” asked her mother angrily. Emmy stared back at them in all innocence.

“Well, that’s what all the older girls say,” she said. “Especially the cheerleaders – they are always saying how our guys always kick the other guys in the balls. Have I said anything wrong?" 

Jack had to put his hand over his mouth to stop giggling. A wry smile was crossing his fathers face as well. But the mother went on: 

“Well, they may use that language they use  at school, missy, but I don’t want to hear it in this house!" 

Emmy gave a defiant smile but said nothing and carried on eating her breakfast. The truth was, she was getting extremely excited about the game, and about the porsopect of seeing some broken bones out on the field! be continued!

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