Category Archives: Youth

Not In Good Spirit

I’ve been depressed this week. Trying to snap out of it and get back into my normal routine. It still feels like there’s pins and needles stuck in my heart and I’m having a hard time motivating myself. I pretty much want to stay hidden, but at the same time I feel a need to stick my neck out again.

I went ahead and bought the second season of Six Feet Under last night and watched the first episode. It’s kind of neat how I’m remembering these episodes as if no time has passed since I last saw them in 2003. I wouldn’t mind going back to 2003. It was a good time. I was in a relationship with a woman I never got over.

I woke up this morning remembering something from my childhood. It was the last year that my brother Fred and I were on the Lapeer Steelers’ freshman team. This young, college-aged assistant coach, after speaking to the entire team, threw a football into the mud down the field.

I’m not positive that this is why it happened, but I had been under the impression that the assistant coach, after throwing the ball, told Fred to retrieve it, and then he told the rest of us to tackle Fred.

I’m not positive that those were the words the coach said. My deafness didn’t allow me to pick that up clearly. But the coach did say something after throwing the ball and Fred went to get it. Then the coach said something else and the entire team went after Fred.

I trailed behind the charging team, uncertain of what was going on. I watched the dog pile grow as thirty to forty guys jumped into it. I think I added my weight to the pile, though by the time I got there, the pile was so high that I couldn’t do much more than lean against it.

And then I heard Fred yelling. I knew it was him and his yelling was a terrifying sound. I realized what was happening. In a minute the coaches were there pulling everyone off. When the last guy was pulled off, Fred was lying face down in the mud. I remember sitting beside him while everyone else took off to run a few laps as punishment. But then I got up to run the laps too. Not sure if someone told me to or if I just thought I was supposed to.

Normally when we ran laps, our running path was a simple triangle. We’d run down the field to this big tree near where the varsity practiced, turn and run past the J.V’s practice area to another big tree where the cheerleaders practiced, turn and make our way back to the freshman practice area.

But that time was real punishment. Instead of the normal triangle route, we were made to run along the outside of the entire field. Our practice field was a big park, surrounded by hills and a creek on one side.

Here’s a Google Earth screenshot of the field. Looks like they cut down a lot of the trees that used to be there.

We had to run along the outside of the field three times. When we finished our laps, Fred was sitting on the picnic table recovering from nearly being killed by the entire freshman team. But then, one of the coaches made him run the laps that the rest of us had just finished.

That was a bad year to be on the Lapeer Steelers’ freshman team. The years before that, Delbert Anderson was the head coach. Delbert was a good coach and a true role model, and the assistant coaches were all good guys. My dad was one of the assistant coaches.

But that last year that Fred and I were on the freshman team, Delbert Anderson and the other coaches from the past years had moved up to coach the J.V.. Several of the new coaches were stupid assholes, true posers putting on some pretentious military-wannabe act.

My dad was one of the defense coaches that year, but he usually arrived late because of his job. He worked as a painter at an auto body shop in Rochester. I imagine if my dad had been there when that thing happened to Fred, he would have beat the shit out of the assistant coach who set it into motion.