As the 4th grade school year began its second semester in January of 1985, I met a girl. Well, we actually never officially met, but she owned my heart. I like to think I had a special place in her’s as well.
Of all the places we lived, I’d say that experience on the outskirts of New Orleans really started to mold my values in terms of cultural tolerance and respect for others outside of one’s own biological make up, in terms of race and creed.
In Dallas, I went to school with all white kids. My sports teams were all white. The neighbors. Everything. So, when we moved to Louisiana and my school was a perfect 50/50 split between black and white students, it was so foreign to anything I had experienced up to that point of my brief existence.
Louisiana gets the credit for introducing me to basketball. I would attend a basketball camp after school everyday for a couple of weeks that spring that was taught by the local high school basketball coach along with a few of his varsity players. My first male role model, other than my father and grandfather was one of the stars of the varsity team that taught us the game during that camp.
He was black, and I idolized him. I was glued to him, and I think he got a kick out of that. The fact that a white kid in the Deep South in 1984 could look up to a black man with such respect and admiration I like to think gave him hope that the not-so subliminal racism that obviously still ran strong during that time could possibly be slowly losing its bigoted grasp on the future generations of this country. I wouldn’t say I didn’t see his race, but all I knew is that I loved it. I thought he was the coolest. I loved him. He was the first one who made me feel accepted, and I’ll never forget that gift I needed so desperately at that time of my life.
The early eighties by no means carried with it the level of racial unrest compared to the civil rights era, but it clearly had not been completely extinguished as we all can still see even today, being that we are still weeding it out over three decades later. So, to see the recess activity on the playground every afternoon organically segregate itself based on race was not a shock by any stretch.
It was on this recess playground that I saw the first girl in history that wasn’t contaminated with this disgusting plague running rampant among the female community called “cooties”. Up to that point of my life, every girl I’d ever met tragically had this infectious disease, but to my surprise I had found one that seemed to have a very powerful immune system capable of defending against it…and she was black.
Now, having a black mentor within the stereotypical confines of an athletic event was reluctantly acceptable, at that time. But having a crush on a black girl back then, on that segregated school yard? Well, that was just social suicide.
The first time I read Romeo and Juliet in high school a half a decade later, she was the first person I thought of. When I first saw A Bronx Tale with the scene of Jane and Cee sharing a cute covert mutual interest in one another on the bus…I thought of her.
We never exchanged a single word during that spring of 1985. I never knew her name, and she never knew mine, but we had brief moments like that bus scene in A Bronx Tale every day during recess. We knew what we liked was socially frowned upon, but we also knew we both made each other smile.
Even though the world disapproved of what we were drawn to, we each secretly let the other know every day during recess that what we were attracted to wasn’t abnormal in the slightest.. it was our backwards society that had it wrong and needed to catch up. She was the one that sold me on the fact that I was never marrying a white woman. It was too racially incestuous for my taste.
(note from The Wayniac: I need to interject. You see, I’ve known SBJ for 22 years. I’ve always known that he he was going to one day be in a biracial marriage, and as a good looking guy whose always dated very attractive women, probably produce an extremely adorable biracial kid. We were in the same fraternity. One of the first things during pledge week was that pledges went around and interviewed brothers, and of course one of the questions was in regards to your celebrity crush. The Greek system was still a predominantly segregated thing on most campuses and I remember wanting to be around for the interviews to see the look on these kids’ faces when he said Halle Berry. Every time, for three solid years, same answer. He never changed, even though he also had this poster of Sandra Bullock on his wall, which I loathed because this was around the time that Speed was considered quality cinematic viewing. But I digress. I was the one, in fact, who introduced him to A Bronx Tale, because I knew their secret relationship would strike a chord. What I never knew in those 22 years, was how deep rooted it was. As a kid, I always was concerned what others thought of me, but that was in regards to the clothes I wore, or the music I listened to. Imagine the torment of not being able to act on something as strong as love (or at least perceived love for a ten year old) because of societal rules that make no sense even today. It’s no wonder he is still not married, he’s searching for that little girl at recess, wanting to finally let her know that everything is ok.)
PACKERS +3(-120) @ REDSKINS -3(EVEN)
WR: J. NELSON @ WAS
EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 0
HOUSE FAVORITE SPECIAL
PICK: REDSKINS -3(EVEN) & UNDER 49
JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE:
All House…All Day. Adjust accordingly.
TEXANS +6 @ RAIDERS -6
EMOTIONAL RED FLAG ALERT: 0
K: S. JANIKOWSKI VS. HOU
HOUSE DOG FAVORITE SPECIAL
PICK: RAIDERS -265 & UNDER 46
JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE:
(One final note from the editor: I’m the FANTASY OPPONENT this week. I’m playing to lock up a playoff spot. SBJ wins this game, this may be the last article you read from him. So enjoy it. Just sayin’.)