Friday Night Football

I’ve had a couple of interesting charters lately – Friday night high school football games. After all, the teams have to get to the playing field somehow! It’s been quite a learning experience, to say the least. Let me begin by saying I am not a football fan. I have no use for it, cannot see a shred of sense in it, and would sooner be eaten by Sasquatch than actually watch a football game. (Don’t even ask about the Sasquatch comment, just google “The George and Wendy Show” and spend a few hilarious hours reading over there)

My first football run was Paris District High School, who were all set to battle my own alma mater, Brantford Collegiate Institute. I was apprehensive, wondering what on earth I’d gotten myself into in accepting this charter. I started by picking up the junior boys team. They were polite, courteous and respectful as they boarded the bus, and many of them complimented me on my seasonal decorations. The ride to the field was uneventful. I dropped them off and went home to kill an hour before heading back to pick up the senior team. Like the younger boys, these were polite and courteous as they boarded. It was obvious which one was the captain, supervising and overseeing the others. When the boys and their gear were all aboard, we set off for the field.

We got about five minutes away from the school when there was a sudden shout from behind me.
“Bus Driver! We gotta go back! We forgot the quarterback!”
I looked in the mirror to see the captain standing up, cell phone to his ear, a look of absolute horror on his face. Now, maybe this is just me, in my ignorance about football, but I always thought the quarterback was rather important, so it confused me somewhat as to how, exactly, they could forget the quarterback. So I asked –
“You forgot the quarterback? How, pray tell, do you just FORGET something like a quarterback?”
The captain was talking into his phone, and didn’t answer at first, then he sank down into his seat in relief. He looked back at me. “We don’t gotta go back, he’s gonna get a ride!”
I skewered him with an evil look. “Ok, that’s good, but I still want to know – how on earth do you FORGET a quarterback?”
He looked sheepish. “He was in the bathroom and when he came out the bus was gone.”
“I see,” I replied. “So would this be a good point to tell you all that your bus driver is a BCI grad?”
I was -as expected – rewarded with hoots and howls of laughter from the entire team, and the captain called out, “Hear that boys! We can blame the bus driver! She made us forget Jim!” Everyone laughed, including me, and I replied, “Exactly! I sabotaged the whole game!”

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending upon your perspective – BCI swept both games with scores that are too painful to even post, and my Paris boys were pitifully silent all the way home. However, the losses didn’t prevent them from remembering their courtesy and thanking the bus driver as they got off.

**************************************************

The following Friday I had the pleasure – well, in reference to the junior team, that is; the seniors not so much – of driving the teams from Assumption College to their matches with my beloved BCI. The juniors were loads of fun. They all greeted me as they boarded, and after they were seated their coach came on to talk to them.

“Did you board this bus respectfully, boys?” he bellowed.
“YES COACH!” came the response.
“And will you get off this bus respectfully, boys?” he bellowed.
“YES COACH!”
“And will you disrespect any of the decorations this lady has put up?”
“NO COACH!”
He nodded, pleased, turned to me and tipped down the rim of his ball cap. “They’re all yours, ma’am!”
“Thank you, sir,” I replied, “I’ll do my best to get them to the game safely!” And off the bus he got.

The team was in high spirits, singing, chanting and cheering most of the way. Their excitement and enthusiasm were contagious, and when we got to the field, I wished them good luck and told them I would be waiting to take them home. “And remember,” I yelled, “I want to drive home a winning team this week!” (I had told them about Paris and the missing quarterback…..)
A cheer went up, and the captain capitalized on it. He looked over at me, yelled, “I like the way you think!” Then he turned to his team. “Did you hear the lady? She wants to drive a winning team home! Let’s get out there and win this one for the bus driver! Three cheers!” And sure enough, this flock of high school boys gave three cheers for their bus driver! I was stunned.

When I went back to the school to pick up the senior team for their game, their coach boarded the bus after the boys, but instead of giving them last minute instructions, he told me my decorations looked nice and asked if I had put them up just for that night. I laughed and said, yeah, sure I had. He looked at his team and called out, “Hear that boys? The bus driver decorated her bus just for us, so what do you need to say to her?” Forty eight male voices bellowed out, “THANK YOU!”
I laughed and commented so they could all hear, “I figured it was the least I could do since I was going to be driving the winning team around tonight!” (Was I fishing for more cheers? No, of course not, don’t be silly.)
I heard a shout from the back, “Hey, no pressure!” and laughter, but that was it.

Long story short, both teams won. My juniors pretty much deafened me with their cheering and yelling out the windows the whole way home. My seniors offended me thoroughly with their jokes, most of which I felt were totally inappropriate for any high school students, let alone Catholic high school students, due to the explicit sexual content. And this was with a coach on board! Not impressed with that team, not at all!

Overall my experience with the high school football has been positive – which is a good thing, since I have two more football charters next week! Wish me luck!

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