My brother and I stepped out of the Chevy Blazer in dirtclogged cleats and into the garage, drenched in Gatorade-infused sweat, our heads spinning from a helluva football practice. We were seven and nine, feeling like men, having been introduced to the world by way of violent sports and aggression, our constant ushers during those early years.
Memorizing football plays, being chastised in huddles by an eccentric coach who passed gas and held us there long enough for everyone to gag, and beating teams of other little men made us feel like we had some type of lot in life. I remember a friend, Ryan Skidmore, stabbing a stick into a piece of tobacco one of our coaches had spit near us on the sidelines. We stared at the foreign object, vapor rising from our hot heads in the cold of the night.