I grew up playing tackle football around my neighborhood.
I guess it was more like rugby in that we didn’t have any
pads. Regardless, I am not built for a game like that, and I
wasn’t then, either. I am tall and was once upon a time lanky
with bones that broke very easily. (I once fractured an arm
by falling off a bike… that wasn’t moving.) However, I
remember approaching this blatant brutality with equal parts
apprehension and excitement because I could catch and
occasionally evade tackles with a high step or two even if I
did not enjoy the end result. I now think back on those
afternoons after school when it was so cold out that we could
see our breath when we walked out on the field and terrorized
one another in the grass before going home with ripped shirts,
bruises, scrapes, and covered in sweaty teenage stink and think
we were a bunch of hooligans who deserved everything we
would get because each of us in our own way was asking for it.