By the time we arrived in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, I had accepted the fact that being the geographical equivalent of an army brat was my life now. This was the fifth house and fourth time I had to start over in a mere five years, and I was sick of it.
It made me slightly numb to the challenge of having to fit in, to the point that I just didn’t care anymore, because whether I would be accepted or not in this new “home”, we would eventually be on the move somewhere else. So, what was the point? If this move didn’t go well, it wouldn’t matter much, since I’d be doing it all again in a year or two anyway.
It was freeing in a sense. I had consciously decided that I wasn’t going to get emotionally attached to a new place that would once again become irrelevant, once the next map was laid out on the kitchen table to scout the next location.
I was in a bit of an “FU Mode”, with concern to school in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t cold or bitter towards anyone. I was always my usual kind natured soul, but this move was the first time that I began to anticipate the inevitable expiration of my environment, which started to develop a subtle fear of detachment, in my view of the world around me.
For how extremely shy I was whenever initially having been thrown into a new situation, this emotional shut down was kind of a blessing for me. When you think you are repetitively cursed to be removed from your current life at the drop of a map, you stop letting the surroundings mold the person you become, and that actually helped me. It was also the reason that defining who I was as a sports fan was still up in the air, in addition to who I was becoming as a person.
I had found quality friendships in my neighborhood almost instantly. I didn’t care if I was sitting alone in the school cafeteria anymore. I didn’t stress about the squealing arrival of the school bus, and contemplating to myself just how awful this day could turn out to be. These constant moves had me embrace the role of the social outcast, and to my surprise, this new adjustment strategy was yielding the best social transition yet.
I had been adopted by what was considered the group of “cool kids” in the beginning of that year of 5th grade during that first fall of 1985. I was a soccer stand out that fall, and would continue to be all through my high school years.
If I were to rank my favorite sports to play between football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, it would fall in that exact order. I loved soccer, but it wasn’t my favorite of the big four. Although, ironically, soccer was arguably my best sport. I was fast. I played left wing, could beat any fullback to the corner on a dash to the ball, and had a sick crossing pass, which always gave goalkeepers trouble.
Transitions to new social settings are always tough, but when you can use your athletic ability to showcase your worth it makes fitting in a whole lot easier and quicker. We had only been in PA a month and I felt as if I accomplished more in terms of being accepted socially than any of our previous homes. Things had gone so smoothly that I felt I could finally begin to let my guard down. I was one of the group, and not the odd man out for most of the first year, like every other place we lived. This new game plan had worked, and I had the results to prove it. Or at least, I thought I did.
During one recess period during those first couple of months a classmate from my neighborhood had decided that she was going to play matchmaker with the entire 5th grade class one brisk fall day.
She had gathered everyone on the school yard together, and started pairing boys and girls off into married couples. Once everyone had their partner, then we would all share in a joint ceremony committing our eternal love to what she determined was our soulmate for the next 20 some odd minutes, at the very least.
As the pairings commenced, I was so excited to see who she had in mind for me. I was even more curious as to who she had in mind for herself, because I’ll admit I did have a slight crush on her, for a white girl that is. This school was similar to the demographic make up of my elementary school in Texas, in the sense that there were no other races other than white to pick from, so I think I knew whoever I was getting hitched to that day wasn’t going to make it past my next class.
The pool started to get smaller and smaller, as the drafted participants were now standing behind her all holding hands with their recess spouses. I was still in the dating pool and wondering when I was going to get recognized as a decent catch. The picks kept coming, and I was still one of the singles. Then, I was one of only a handful left to choose from. Until finally, I was the only one standing in the dating pool all by myself. Everyone was ready to marry except two…the matchmaker and me.
I was so honored. The one I had a crush on had set up this elaborate recess activity to convey that she had a crush on me, as well. I started walking over to her beaming and slightly embarrassed as I went to take her hand.
When she realized that I was walking over to her, she gave me a confused head tilted stare. It was a face that I couldn’t read. It didn’t fall in line with everything that had transpired. I slowly started to bring my pace towards her to a grinding halt, and anxiously waited for the next words that would come out of her mouth. Words that I still unfortunately have let carry heavy emotional weight to this day.
She looked right at me, with the entire paired off 5th grade class enjoying a front row seat to the awkward moment that was seconds away from transpiring, and said these ten gut wrenching words:
“Oh, Jared. No one would ever want to marry you.”
I had many humiliating moments in my life up until that point, and I would have countless humiliating moments to follow throughout life, as we all do, but nothing cut me to the core of my soul, like those words on that day.
It wasn’t just the incredibly insulting sentence, but it was the tone in which she said it. The, “Oh, Jared” was just overflowing with pathetic disgust, and the rest of the sentence was a statement delivered off her tongue with all the confidence of gospel. Everyone laughed at me, as she stood there smug with a heartless, “Sorry, not sorry” type of reaction to my obviously devastated expression.
The worst part? She wasn’t paired up! We had an even number of kids in our class, so the only two singles left standing there were us two. Basically making it clear to everyone during that recess that she would rather never be married, if I was her only option. Even if I was the last boy on earth…nope. No one would ever want me.
Whenever I tell that story, I get sympathetic sighs, or “aww”s. I’m always asked if I still resent her for saying that to me before our entire class. Resent her? I’m 42, and still haven’t found a woman willing to consider spending the rest of her life with me. Resent her? Hell, I wanna find her and take her to Vegas. Not to marry her…to clean up at the sportsbooks, are you kiddin’ me?
Over three decades later and the girl’s prediction is still holding strong. She was ten! Can you imagine if that foretelling ability could translate to multiple 4-team parlays during a March Madness run? Freakin’ Rainwoman. If I ever ran into her today my first question would be who she liked in the conference championship games this winter. Seriously, she’s probably even more intuitive today having all these years to fine-tune her psychic skills.
TO BE CONTINUED IN NEXT WEEKS NFL RUNDOWN WITH SBJ
PANTHERS +7.5 @ SEAHAWKS -7.5
TE: J. GRAHAM vs. CAR
The Swami Squad is in one of the biggest freakshow seasons in franchise history. At 5-7, we are dead last in our division, have the second worst record in the league, and are playing the only team with a worse record than us. Yet we are the third highest scoring team in the league, and have had more opposing points scored against us than any team in the league. Fantasy football is so stupid.
Bottomline, because we are so dominant in the Total Points department, if we win today, then we make the playoffs. Before Week 10, we were involved with a 6 man trade, with the very team we are playing this week fighting for a playoff berth. We traded our stud Jordan Reed(TE), Jordan Howard(RB), and Terrelle Pryor(WR) to them in exchange for solidifying our running attack by snagging LeSean McCoy(RB), Brandon Marshall(WR), and Zach Ertz(TE).
We only gave up Reed because of our unwavering faith that drafting Jimmy would pay huge dividends by year’s end, and here we are.
Plus, Jordan Reed was listed as OUT for this week on Friday, and our opponents back up is Rudolph for Minnesota who already played on Thursday, so they can’t play a tight end against us now. That might go down as the most crucial season saving trade in club history. Now we just need to win, and we’re in. Jimmy. Do what you do. This is your job now. LET’S GO, SWAM!!
EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 9
PEOPLES FAVORITE CROSS(PFC)
PICK: SEAHAWKS -7.5 & OVER 43.5
JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE:
House Total Points wherever it lands.
COLTS -1.5 @ JETS +1.5
WR: T.Y. HILTON @ NYJ
EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 0
HOUSE DOG PEOPLES SPECIAL(HDPS)
PICK: JETS +105 & OVER 48.5
JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE:
Primetime Domino Effect in play. If the public hits the Total Points on SNF we stick with The House Total Points in this MNF matchup whether they have the UNDER 48.5 or OVER 48.5. Are we ever going to see a HOUSE/HOUSE Total Points Combo this year? I can’t remember the last one. No offense….but you are getting your ass handed to you in Primetime this year, Vegas. And not just in one category. Across the freakin’ board. Are you even going to finish above 50 percent in anything? Man up, bro. You’re making us both look bad.
Goodnight, and good luck.