Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It
Sunday, June 13, 2010
A Sport I Will Never Play - And It Is Not Soccer
There are some sports that are so violent; no state would possibly sanction them. Cockfighting at City Hall would be more palatable to the masses. In the spirit of “some of the best sports are ones that have never been invented,” the kids have developed “Handball.” Seems innocuous enough, yes?
To stage a match, you need two hockey nets placed at either end of the yard. Since we have more nets than Quebec Province in our cul-de-sac, this is not a problem. You need a ball, preferably one that has air in it, though it is surprising the kids don’t use a brick. Finally, you need a group of boys with violence in their hearts.
There is but one objective, get that friggin’ ball in the net at all costs with no regard for your own safety or the safety and well being of others. The beauty of inventing games is that you get to set the rules; in this game, there are none. Here are some examples of things that flirt with being felonious, but in “handball,” are not only allowed, but considered exemplary:
• Blind side cross body block to the back of the person who doesn’t have the ball.
• Driving your opponent into the deck steps.
• Leg whips that sends someone tumbling into the thorny patch of blackberry bushes.
• The Cobra Clutch.
Of course, with such random violence, occasional, actual violence breaks out. Since there are no rules, the argument is not about if someone went out of bounds, rather, someone may have taken exception to being impaled on a garden stake.
It reminds me of a time in college when the guys who lived next door to us got their hands on a pair of boxing gloves. One afternoon when they were properly lubricated, they were going to “play box.” Ideally this meant good natured, light tapping. A few laughs, a leathery kiss to the top of the head and it would have been over. That lasted three seconds before someone took exception to a decent right cross…punches with bad intention soon were thrown with malice. We watched, didn’t break it up, and tapped the keg of Milwaukee’s Best.
This afternoon’s game had me reading the fine print of my homeowner’s insurance policy to see if coverage is extended to illegal sports played by minors on my property. This was after I witnessed what was as close to a pile driver I have seen since the Super Fly Snuka days…and this happened away from the ball. There doesn’t seem to be a certain score that ends the game – it seems to end when everyone has pretty much had enough of beating the shit out of each other. Red faced and sucking air, the boys tossed on their swim suits and headed off to the neighbor’s pool…who hopefully has the industrial filter system that can clean the water of sweat, grass and blackberry thorns.