LGT Posted May 13 Share Posted May 13 Transferring from one High School to another can be pretty tough, especially if the two schools are big sports rivals. I grew up in San Benito down in the Rio Grande Valley, but, just before mid-term of my Freshman year at San Benito High School, my family moved to arch rival Harlingen where ninth grade was still part of the Junior High. So, not only was I thrust into a rival school, but going back to Junior High felt like a demotion. Those issues aside, the first two or three months at the new school presented their own challenges. Going into the “enemy camp,” my most reliable weapon was a quick wit. It was well tested by the football guys who hassled me daily because I was from the rival town. Even so, that last half year of the ninth grade was pretty much a blur except for three notable events that mirrored scenes we've all seen in those bad teen movies. I swear that they occurred exactly as described. Event #1 occurred in my very first class which was after lunch on the day I enrolled. An office worker escorted me to the empty classroom where I sat alone for quite a while. The first student to come in was a guy I'll call Buddy, and he settled into the desk next to me. There was no hello, how are you, or what's your name. Without looking at me, and as he arranged his books and papers for the class, he simply said, “I hear all of you guys from San Benito are chicken.” Who does that and how did he even know where I came from? Well, I summoned up as much bluster as possible and told him that he heard wrong or, you know, words to that effect. Start of the class put the discussion on hold. But, our repartee continued briefly after the class, and it ended when I accepted Buddy's challenge to get him a San Benito varsity football game jersey. A piece of cake, I said, but after the bluster subsided, I realized I had agreed to do something that others might deem illegal. Oh, I got him a jersey, but that is another story, and not one of my finer moments. Ironically, Buddy and I became good friends. Event #2 occurred one morning before classes began when I was among a number of students hanging around outside the main entrance to the school. One of the teachers, an attractive young lady, walked by and drew a chorus of cat calls from some of the guys. Suddenly, all reason departed from me, and, I let out a very loud wolf whistle. Unfortunately, I did not see that the Principal had just stepped out among us. He heard the whistle and immediately ordered everyone to freeze. Several times he shouted “Who did that? Who whistled?” He wrote down names as he moved around in the crowd. A couple of guys standing close to me knew I did it, looked over at me, but said nothing. Their silence saved me from myself. Event #3 started when some guy I had never seen before intentionally gave me hard shoulder bumps in the hallway between classes on consecutive days. Each bump dissolved into heated words, pushing, and shoving. After the second bump, new friend Buddy advised that I had to challenge the bumper to a real fight or else everyone would think I was chicken. (He had a real thing about poultry.) When school let out that same day, he escorted/dragged me to the practice field behind the visitor's stands of the football stadium which was situated between the high school and the junior high. Upon our arrival, Buddy revealed that he had arranged for the bumper and me to meet there and duke it out. A couple of dozen kids, guys and gals, already had gathered to watch the fight, including some football players from the high school, and as we waited, the crowd grew to about 40 – 50 kids. It was a mystery to me how all these kids found out about the showdown and why so many would come to see a fight between a couple of Junior High punks. I wish this had a more dramatic ending, but, there was no fight. The bumper didn't show and I never saw him again. A few of the kids came over to congratulate me, apparently for simply showing up. Over the years, I have wondered if the whole thing was somehow “orchestrated” by Buddy. That would be just like him. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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