A Mismatch

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May 25, 2009 by David Gillaspie

DGsB&B has a three hour open kitchen. A guest in the Sports Room came down for breakfast early.  He’d been to a banquet the night before, a National Wrestling Hall of Fame induction. 

A woman from the Learning Room came looking for coffee and spotted a pot on the counter. 

“I guess we’re the early birds,” she said.

“I had a short night, at least shorter than I expected.  My name’s Jack.”

Low clouds blocked the mountain view.  An earlier rain beat the grass down.

“My high school assistant coach is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame,” he said.

“That’s quite an honor.  My son wrestles.  I’m Belinda.”

“My high school coach is listed first, the assistant, my college coach, and my brother all have Hall of Fame plaques.  Your son wrestles?” he asked.

“Both of them.”

“They’ll probably be Hall of Famers too.”

Belinda pours milk in her coffee.

“Everyone’s in a Hall of Fame but you?”

“Seems like.  What’s worse is the high school assistant looks younger than me.  The athletic director was there, too.  We’re the same age, played against each other in football.  One of the scores was 54-0, him.  He seemed uncomfortable that I remembered the score and played it off as a closer game.”

“Is he in the Hall of Fame?”

“Probably.  Your kids good wrestlers?”

“They held their own.  They’re in college now, UofO.”

“No one wrestles there.”

“It was a bad deal when they dropped it, hurt more people than they’ll ever know.”

“Were your guys on the team?”

“They wrestled some of them in high school and beat them.  But no, no college wrestling for them.”

Jack pushed some bread down into the toaster.

“You’re disappointed.”

“I was.  Their dad wasn’t.  He didn’t want his babies to get hurt.”

“It happens.  I broke my collar bone twice and separated the same shoulder twice.”

“In wrestling?”

“No, on the playground.”

“Rough playground.”

He smiled.

“None of the padding you see in parks today.  We had roughed up asphalt to fall on, the sort of stuff that would skin your arm wrist to elbow from a gentle fall.  You couldn’t pick a worse surface for a grade school playground.”

“That sounds horrible.”

“It taught good balance.  You see a kid get chewed up on that and you learn to stay on your feet fast.”

“Did you ever fall?”

“All the time, but I got back up.”

“Then I nominate you for the Grade School Playground Hall of Fame.”

“Thank you.  I’d like to start by thanking all the little people who helped me.”

“Come on, it was grade school, they were all little.  Besides, you’re not in the Hall of Fame yet, you’re just nominated.”

“Then I accept the nomination.”

They toasted their coffee cups.

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