And some folks call it Speedball; I call it Cecilball.
One of my favorite high-school stories is the saga of Mr. Cecil. He was my gym teacher for one or possibly several years of high school. One of those years, I had gym first period. Because who doesn't want to begin her day in the pre-dawn winter hours of western Pennsylvania shivering on the track field with the majority of the football team playing what else but football?
But now I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me introduce you all to Mr. Cecil. Mr. Cecil is what I imagine Mr. Potato Head would look like if he became a real boy. He had the sensitivity and grace of a retarded Kodiak bear. He liked to add extra syllables in the middle of his words. He also had a somewhat skewed concept of what I was willing to do in terms of a 7:00 AM gym class.
So, getting back to football with Mr. Cecil. Now, I'm what you might call a "hardy" woman. Or "mooselike." I'm built like a Steeler, except I wear my cups farther north. But there's no amount of money you could pay me to play football with the Woodland Hills football team.
So one of these mornings, Mr. Cecil suggested we do just that. There was some guy roughly the size of a Volkswagen Bus across from me. I don't remember his name, but we'll call him Tyrone. Mr. Cecil looked at me and at the array of football players before him. I think the rest of the girls in the class were off menstruating or something; I'd been abandoned like a three-legged zebra. Mr. Cecil conjured up a mental image of John Madden and said, "All right, Amanda, you're going to run a buttonhook pass."
I looked at him. We both blinked. No words were necessary.
"All right, Tyrone, you're going to run a buttonhook pass."
So now you have a pretty good idea of Mr. Cecil and of the kind of relationship we had; to say that he didn't much care for me would be to say that the universe is roomy.
Mr. Cecil had a bit of a penchant for combining things, like the aforementioned extra syllables. But he also liked to combine several sports together. And by "several," I mean all of them. Plus several things that were not sports. I base this statement on the lack of scooter events in the Olympics.
We always knew when we'd be playing Cecilball because it looked like a small bomb had been set off in the equipment closet. The floor-hockey goals, basketballs, badminton racquets, kickballs, hockey sticks, and, of course, scooters, would be strewn about. Also, those horrible green mesh shirts were always out -- because in a game like Cecilball, you need to not only keep score, but have huddles with your teammates concerning strategy:
"Okay, you go down the left and then I'll pass you the kickball --"
"I thought we were using the basketballs."
"No, just the basketball hoops."
"Then what are the hockey goals for?"
"Those are base."
"Wait, I thought whoever had the badminton racquet was on traveling base."
"No, we're going to use those to kill Mr. Cecil."
And of course, that was all supposed to be done on scooters. Who remembers scooters? Even in second grade, no one's ass fit on those things. And there was always someone whose finger had been broken, so we got the safety lecture. ("No one put your hand on the ground.") Because when you set a bunch of 18-year-olds on paper-sized pieces of plywood with swiveling wheels that didn't swivel all the way around, you need to be mindful of their well-being. And everyone's hands were always on the ground anyway because being on a scooter is just doing a crabwalk, only more annoying and less attractive. Only slightly more humiliating than being on the scooter is falling off a scooter. You only fall two inches, but somehow it's never expected and extremely painful. And you can't just get back on the scooter. You have to stand up and completely readjust yourself. And that's if you were lucky -- generally, one person falling set off a chain reaction wherein every other scootered person in the room would crash into that first person like water droplets running into each other on a pane of glass.
Sing it with me now: Glory days! Well, they'll pass you by, glory days! In the wink of a young girl's eye...
She's not winking -- someone just broke her thumb with a scooter.