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The School Bus

April 13, 2008

Middle school wasn’t the easiest place for me. I rode a bus to a school where all my friends went. There, I got on another bus to go to the school where I didn’t know anyone. My lack of social adjustment didn’t help matters, as I went through several different groups of friends trying to figure out where I fit in.

So as I transferred buses to start the 7th grade, it wasn’t exactly the highlight of my day to find that the only seat left was next to Javaris, who had moved into the district.

Javaris was the source of fear for everyone in the 6th grade. Other than size, I don’t know why. For me, size was enough of a reason, and I wasn’t going to speak up for him to give me another one, so I did a pretty good job of dodging him.

Should have known it wouldn’t last for three years.

Now the prospect of a 30 minute ride where the only thing more awkward than myself was the silence had me forgetting all my grand plans for adolescent acceptance. Then it happened. “Troy Aikman is a punk,” he said, reacting to my shirt. My favorite shirt. Made by Salem, once black now slightly grayed, with a blue star on the chest. It was too big when I got it for my birthday in 1992. It was too big, still, almost a year later. An adult large, when I was a medium kid.

“Well, he beat Steve Young didn’t he?” I fired back, suddenly more concerned with his red shirt than his foot advantage. As the bus wandered across town, so did the argument. Emmitt or Ricky, Moose or Rathman, Jay or Jones. That ended up being the best part of the day. The next one, too.

For the next 2 years, our differences are what brought us together. A friendship forged from being enemies. It’s all we did, at every point possible.

We went to separate high schools. That is until he walked into my algebra class as a junior. I didn’t ask why he changed schools, and we didn’t catch up on what had happened to each other since middle school. We caught up on 2 and a half years of lost Cowboys/Niners smack.

Last I heard, he was flying jets in the military. It’s been almost 10 years since I saw him last, but I know that when Tony Romo hits T.O. for a TD he hates me a little bit. I’m still his friend. Well, as long as Alex Smith keeps being terrible.

Football gives us a chance to have fun with disagreements. So lets agree to disagree.

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