My school was atop a hill. ‘A mighty king’ they said- was stationed there, once upon a time. He dug trenches to hide his forces. And then, in the dark of the night, he attacked un-mighty kings, in a show of force.
I never really understood this, but he was mighty I was told. I did not question it.
And this hill was covered with pine trees that reached to scratch the cloudy sky. The ground was covered with Pine leaves. Pine leaves are beautiful. I had never seen leaves like that. But they were leaves alright, my science teacher said. “They are special, they serve a purpose.”
This, I understood.
It was okay to be a leaf that looked like a needle. In fact, it was special to a leaf that didn’t look like one. My strategy professor would call in competitive advantage, I should ask him sometimes.
Our school was atop a hill, nestled in a pine forest. The top was leveled because of the boys and the girls who needed a ground to play. The ground was on the edge, therefore the ball would roll down the hill after every powerful kick. Some boys were really good at those- the powerful kicks.
The ball would bounce around and would get stuck in the bushes. Every time this happened we chased it down the slope.
We slid down the path, dotted with pine trees tall
the same path that the water carved
As it too went down- looking for a ball
We stumbled in rocks, slipped on pine leaves
Faced the trees as we broke our downhill speed.
A year or two later, the teachers put up a net around the ground. The ball stopped rolling down the hills. And then the boys stopped rolling down the hill. Well… the boys kept rolling, just not down the hill.
Then the boys and the girls were really thankful. They could play longer- didn’t have to chase the ball downhill.
This, I never really understood. What was the point of having a football field on top of a hill if the ball wasn’t to roll off the edge every now and then? For me, football was the whole; from chasing the jocks to murdering the socks. The bushes and the berries. The trees and the pine cones. Football really was a vertical game.
Ever since the net came up, my will to play football went down.