26 of October
Well, the nine o’clock Tepeyak futbol thing did happen, and it actually turned out to be a tryout, for a scout from the University of Cancun. It took some convincing in the early morning, but Kira decided to go along with me to the tryout after Kalin’s game, even though it was obvious to all of us that it would be only boys trying out, and how Kira hated playing with the boys. We suited up, swung our uniform black bags onto our shoulders from their gathering-dust corners, and set off in the breaking dawn with the whole clan in tow. Kalin played well with his soccer chums- I always thought that word to be rather hilarious- and at the end of the match, Mum, Kira, and I drove off to Tepeyak to put our chips in for a shot at the scholarship to UC. I suppose one can argue that our endeavors were utterly pointless, as we will only be staying in Playa for the year, and the scholarship opportunity isn’t internationally recognized. But we were urged by the coaches at Papalote, our friends, and our own curiosity and partiality to a good match of soccer to pass up on the tryout. When we arrived in our golden beater van, a group of boys wearing red and looking awfully forlorn sat hunched, or standing with a serious air, at the step to the Tepeyak office. I recognized two of the boys, and the rest looked miles high, wide, strong, and I realized that this tryout was going to be a fight- a jostle for a position that was already handed out because of my physical appearance. I guess it was around fifth grade that I really began to seem small to the kids in my school, and ever since then, I’ve been labeled as short. But in Mexico, where most natives are small, I let myself believe I was tall once more, like my childhood days where I had nothing to worry about because I was the biggest kid around. The boys, idly throwing back phrases at one another though, put me back in my place. Their immense shoulders condemned me to a place where I understood that my aggressive playing would serve me no purpose, if I did have to do the tryouts with the boys.
Perhaps my favorite girl in my class, Kailani, showed up with her mother and father to participate, and we soon learned that the tryouts would be divided between boys and girls. Although I do sourly hate sex divisions now, it relieved much of my performance anxiety and lulled Kira and I into deep, understood sense of contentment. It was in that moment that I knew that at least Kira would be receiving recognition from the scout. And so it turned out that way. Kira had two assists in the scrimmage we played (four versus six, and we still beat the other team!) and I had two goals and one assist. The final score was 3-0, and Kira had confidently flashed her skills on the small field they set up for us to play on, with pipeline goals while the boys completed complicated drills on the other half of the field that Kira has all but mastered. After, the group of chauvinist, sweaty, shirts-off-boys and the small group of winded girls, plus Kira, strong and humble, and me, hopelessly defiant and proud, all gathered in a huddle while a lackey came around and asked Kira and I for our email addresses. Go team Jackson.
We finished off the day with movies and popcorn as the hail sounds of the rain came upon us. I put Old School by Tobias Wollf to rest and pondered about the best way to get the honey in my tea to spread evenly so I’d taste it in each sip.