U(r)sh, babe...it's been far too long. I'm so sorry that I've been neglecting you..."It's been a long time, shouldn't left you, without a dope blog to step to." Just know that Kristen and I (and Layson) will be coming to see you real soon. And we'll probably be wearing some kind of ridiculous outfit. I mean, judging by eachl of our histories...I'd say the costumes are a safe bet....
(Kristen, Myself, Layson)
Anyway....back to what I really came here to do Ush.....and that is my confession:
I once was a rebel. I once got in really big trouble. I once got my soccer team in really big trouble.......
Most importantly.... All of this was by complete accident.
This story starts out, as most stories do, with a red head.
That's Kenny Burke. He was quite possibly the best soccer coach I've ever had (and I've had some really good ones). Perhaps a whole other blog post could be written someday on his pre-game and half-time speeches, ranging from topics such as "Playing Under the Lights" to "Muhammed Ali's Rope-A-Dope Strategy." Anyway, I don't want to give him too big of a head before continuing on with the story. But just know that Kenny was my soccer coach at the time of the "great fruit incident of 2002."
What was the Great Fruit Incident of 2002? Here goes nothin'....
I was a junior in high school at the time and my club soccer team had traveled to Memphis for a spring tournament. Any of you who have played club soccer know that tournament weekends were far and away the best weekends ever. You got to stay in a hotel with 17 of your closest friends, in a different city and just have a great time (and play a little soccer during the day). Tournaments are always fun, but the club team that I was on (Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club....holler) was a particularly tight knit group. We were from a ton of different high schools in the Louisville area and we all just happened to randomly click and get along really well. We were a goofy group too....always doing random things and having good-hearted, silly and truthfully innocent teenage fun.
No really, I promise. We weren't out partying like fools....we were going to restaurants dressed up like this (not on Halloween, mind you):
Then came Memphis....
We must have had an early 2nd game on Saturday because we had plenty of time to kill that night hanging out at the hotel after dinner. Our hotel was pretty nice too. I remember thinking it was one of the better ones we had stayed in....
My favorite part?....... The hotel literally had bowls of fruit laying out at all hours of the day.
All weekend up until Saturday night, the fruit bowls had only contained apples and bananas (trust me that this fact becomes relevant at a later point in time).
Our whole team (or at least most of us, from what I remember), were avoiding our parents and hanging out in the hotel parking lot. This was nearly 8 years ago, but if my memory serves me correctly, we had taken some of the fruit from the hotel lobby and we were playing catch and just hanging out and talking. Nothing too exciting.....yet.
We had a sudden fruit shortage and needed more. I felt up for the task. I volunteered to go back into the lobby and get more fruit. Please believe me when I say this: If I had it to do all over again...I would have never volunteered to go get that fruit. I would have let someone else be the "hero." Those next few footsteps were footsteps I have regretted for a really, really long time....
I walked into the lobby and noticed that we had of course emptied the fruit bowl of its contents. I casually walked up to the receptionist and asked if she could possibly bring out more fruit for us. Like I said, we were good kids and must have seemed like it to her as well, because she gladly replied that she would be right back with some new fruit.
She went into the back room for a few minutes while I twiddled my thumbs at the counter. Bored, I glanced outside and noticed that my teammates were no longer tossing fruit back and forth and chatting amongst themselves. They were all standing around a pick-up truck.
A minute or two passed and when I glanced again, they were still seemingly in conversation (what I assumed was friendly) with the person or person in the pick-up truck. From my view, I really couldn't tell.
Then, THEN....the hotel receptionist came out with an entirely new basket of fruit! Not just any basket though (I wouldn't have used an exclamation point for just any old basket)....this basket contained Apples AND Oranges! Eureka!!!!
I was a goober and of course I was wayyyyyy too pumped about the fact that we now had apples and oranges to throw. Seriously, there is no logical explanation for how excited I was other than the fact that if you've met me...you've probably seen me get equally excited for equally mundane things.....Such as the day at work when I stacked multiple markers on top of one another, on top of a flashlight....and reacted like this:
Seriously...I was probably that amount of excited, or more.
I ran out of the hotel lobby, quickly approaching my teammates who were all extremely tightly huddled together in a group. I think I was literally even chanting "We have apples AND oranges! We have apples AND oranges!"
Before I could get all the way to them, the pick-up truck (guy driving, girl riding shotgun) that I had just seen them all socializing with while I was inside the lobby for the past few minutes drove by between myself and the rest of the team. I on one side of the truck, my team on the other. The pick-up truck wasn't going too fast and in a moment that I can honestly look back at myself and say "ALLY, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?" I mistakingly judged the situation as the people in the pick-up truck being people we were "cool with" after seeing my teammates talking to them.
BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER: As they drove by, I happily (and very casually) tossed one of the oranges into the open passenger side window.
Yep. I did that.
IN MY HEAD: Hey, these people are our friends because they've just been talking to my friends. I'm unexplainably happy about having oranges in my hands and they are driving by slowly....it will be funny and silly if I just toss one happily into their car window. (Granted, not the most logical thinking...but I swear to you on my Mother's life --that's how serious I am-- that this was the exact thought rolling through my head)
IN REALITY: You just threw an orange into a stranger's open window.
Ever seen Billy Madison? Or was it Happy Gilmore? Anyway...an Adam Sandler movie... Remember the famous line "Things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!!!" Well....let's just say that I could have swiped that quote from him to use for the next 15 seconds of my life.
As soon as the orange left my hand and flew into their window, I began to assess my surroundings quickly. Every single face of every single one of my teammates was staring at me with the look of "OMG Ally, What did you just do????" That look was quickly replaced by the look of "You really should not have done that." Which was then replaced by the look of panic and "Those people are not our friends."
I was still in complete shock when the pick-up truck slammed on their breaks and high-tailed it in reverse.
The things that were said to me by the people in the pick-up truck during the next 30 seconds were things that I cannot repeat because my Mother reads this blog. Let's just say that they were NOT happy at all. And let's just say that I became a "little bitch" (pardon my french Mom and Dad...and Kristen's Mom) and immediately began trying to explain how I thought we were all friends and that it was just me being a goofy person like I am. Needless to say, my explanation really didn't do too much for them.
After about 30 seconds, and what felt more like an hour, passed...they finally seemed content to leave it at that (an extreme "chew out" of me, by them) and head on their merry way.
I quickly was brought up to speed about the situation by my teammates. They in fact were not being "friendly" with the people in the pick-up truck as I had thought while in the hotel lobby. For whatever reason (to this day, I really don't know what) they were actually bickering and exchanging unpleasant words with the people in the pick-up truck. In my defense (and I have very little defense in this story), I had no idea that they already hated our group before I threw the orange in their window.
Surely the trouble was over now since they were leaving....
But no....right before they completely cleared the parking lot, the guy driving the pick-up truck slammed on the gas and "peeled out dramatically" as they say.
One of the sweetest and soft-spoken of my teammates, we'll call her "Christine" for privacy purposes, who would be the last person in the world you would expect to shout anything out in this situation.....shouted something out in this situation.
"Wow! You're sooooo cool!" She yelled out to the truck as the driver tried to peel out.
Now "Christine" was the recipient of the "What the hell are you doing?" looks from all of us. I mean seriously....we were actually kind of in the clear...problem was averted. Then she took us all by surprise and gave them just a little more reason to hate us.
BREAKS SLAMMED. PICK-UP TRUCK IN REVERSE.........Cue all of us running toward the bushes.
The pick-up truck was blazing in reverse toward us. Then it stopped.....
Then things actually got really scary. This is the part of the story that is only funny now because we are all alive and "okay" to tell it.
A guy who looked much, much scarier than the guy pictured above, busted out of his car door carrying a baseball bat toward us. And his main squeeze (kinda trashy chick) was right behind him.
Let's just say that no bats were swung, but we were being threatened. "Bad Ass Girl" on our team was really the only one willing to step up and defend the rest of us, who were all scared out of our brains standing behind her. Words were exchanged between the one "bad ass" girl we had on our team and the "kinda trashy chick." Following the words, "Kinda trashy chick" decided to slap the glasses off of "bad ass girl." Let's just say that "bad ass girl" doesn't really take such things lightly. Let's just say that in the end of this little moment, Bad Ass Girl- 1 Kinda Trashy Girl - 0.
The couple finally leaves in the pick-up truck and this time "Christine" decided against shouting anything else at them. Genuinely rattled, we all ran into the hotel and decided to never speak of this again to anyone. Especially our parents. Especially our fearless leader, Kenny Burke.
After reflecting upon how bizarre, scary, absurd and lucky we all were...and how stupid I was for throwing an orange into someone's car (seriously, try explaining that to anyone), we decided to re-convene in the enclosed pool area in the back of the hotel. We all felt a little more relaxed and we were coming down from the wild exchange we had just had.......
Then we heard it first. Squealing of tires.
Then we saw it. The truck was coming back. And somehow they seemed to know exactly where we were.
We all bolted for the hotel and closed the door behind us (in my memory, literally right as they approached the door...in reality, who knows). Safely inside the locked hotel, we ran to the front desk and told them enough of what was going on to get them to "run off" the people in the pick-up truck.
Somehow we all thought that we would get away with this whole huge, huge mistake and unfortunate series of events without our parents or coach knowing. We just felt like this would be one of those "nights we never spoke of again to anyone" type of things...
We should have known...life as a teenager is never that easy. You always get caught. Always, always, always. ....
Unfortunately for us, some of the parents had heard some of the scuffle going on from their rooms and
peeked out of their windows just in time to catch some of the action. God only knows what they were thinking when they saw the whole thing go down.
Anyway, needless to say....Coach Kenny found out. Oh man did he find out.
I've never feared for my life as much as I feared for my life when Kenny pulled me aside to talk to me in the hotel the next morning (I think it was the next morning or next day ...sometime before the next game) to talk to me about what happened.
At that point, he thought "Bad Ass Girl" on our team was kind of the culprit because she had been directly involved with the scuffle outside of the hotel that the parents witnessed. As any coach must do, he had to be firm and had to take some kind of action. He informed me that "Bad Ass Girl" would be suspended for our next game (a semi-final match, by the way).
To this day....I have no idea whether or not Kenny knew my involvement and that I accidentally, and stupidly got the whole thing started. Part of me thinks he knew and was kind of putting me to the test. Part of me thinks that he had no idea, and this was just one of those "growing up moments." Either way, I came to him and told him that although I didn't mean any harm by my actions, I had made a really, really poor decision by throwing the orange into the window of that car...and that I had put my teammate's safety in jeopardy. I told him that if "Bad Ass Girl" was suspended from the game, I also wanted to suspend myself from the game. It was only fair.
I could go into great detail about how both "Bad Ass Girl" and I were the only 2 goalies on the team. And how we had to put a random player in the goal just so we could play that semi-final match. I could also go on about how the girls on the team somehow still pulled off a win, even with one of our best center mids stepping in and playing goalie. I could also tell you about how before our coach showed up to the game that day, before warm-ups started...our whole team tried to suspend themselves. I remember all of them saying things like "If you all can't play, we won't play." And saying "we won't step across the line to warm-up." I remember "Bad Ass Girl" and I both being very touched by the gesture, but urging them to play.
The whole Fruit Incident of 2002 is a bit of a blur looking back.
Our entire team, including our coach Kenny, look back on it and laugh our heads off at the complete absurdity and honest innocence and goofy-nature of it all. Literally a series of unexplainably unfortunate and ridiculously naiive events. We were teenagers though. That's what teenagers do.
Beyond just being an absurd story in which I love to tell people if they have a good half an hour to kill, I can honestly say the Fruit Incident of 2002 taught me a whole lot. It taught me that although I may be goofy, I am also sometimes too goofy for my own good. It taught me that good teammates will back you up....even when you do something dumb. It taught me that the best coaches/mentors will sometimes let you teach yourself the lesson.
And it taught me that oranges:
A) May seem really cool at the time but...
B) Are not that actually that cool at all
C) Should not be thrown into moving vehicles...even if the throw is meant to be "friendly fire."