The 17-year-old boy walked through the hallway with pride. Teachers who had seen him play football, but hadn’t actually seen him in person would ask, “Are you Wayne?”
My dad would just respond with a nod or, “Yep.” Being only 5 foot 6 inches and 150 pounds, people underestimated my dad. That is why most were surprised when they found out that this small guy was actually the star running back on their school’s football team.
Wayne had worked hard to convert himself into such a football player, if you call neighborhood football hard work. The neighborhood kids had even awarded him a small wooden trophy labeled, “Wayne, MVP”.
He strolled into the locker room 15 minutes before the big rivalry game started. “The Birkwood Bulldogs can beat the Lions any day,” he thought as he slipped on his new cleats. Before he had these cleats, he just wore sneakers because his father was from Idaho and his Argentine mother had no idea that he had to wear anything different for football. Even without the cleats, he still held his own the field. He ran on to the field and accepted the hundreds of cheers. The Lions kicked off the ball and the game began!
My dad had a great game so far; but, the 116 rushing yards would not matter if they lost the match. Down by 3, 60 yards from the touchdown, and 6 seconds on the clock. The huddle broke. He went into his position to the left of the quarterback (being a lefty made it a little easier). He knew the play by heart, but his heart still pounded in his chest.
The quarterback yelled, “Down! Set, hike!” The ball soared towards the quarterback, then it was flicked towards my dad. He caught the ball and immediately shifted it to his left hand and sprinted to his goal. He spun around the first defender. Stiff armed the next. His speed did the rest of the work. He had beaten the other team and had won the game for the Bulldogs. The crowd almost did not understand what had happened until they realized they had won (or lost) and roared with approval. His team picked him up, and he was filled with glory.
At the after game party, everyone greeted him with, “Nice job, Wayne!” or “That was amazing, Wayne!”
Again he only responded with a nod or “Yep.”
That was when he was confronted by a guy named Ryan. He lifted weights all the time and was about 6 ft tall. “Wayne,” he said, “I challenge you to an arm wrestle. Someone as puny as you couldn’t beat me.”
“Sure,” My dad responded. Everyone at the party gathered around where Ryan and Wayne sat.
Wayne’s buddy held their arms together. “Go!” he yelled.
Their arms strained as they fought muscle to muscle. My dad finally got the upper hand and slammed Ryan’s arm to the table. He had won again as the underdog! Ryan’s pride was hurt, and he just walked away. That is how I remember the story my dad told me about him 33 years ago.
Submitted by Garrett, Age 14