When you look back on high school, what do you see? Very likely it is a mix of 90210-inspired montages to the musical stylings of Vitamin C: athletic events, parties, friends, and school dances. For me, well, I wouldn't trade these moments for anything. I got to ride the bench for a wildly talented high school soccer team and spend way too much time with the best friends anyone could ask for. But, now that I think of it, there is one night I would definitely trade in.
I would skip my junior homecoming.
It all started with a choice. My best friend and I were single at the time and, with no predetermined dates to ask to the dance, he suggested that we go to the Dynamo game instead. With the words of any number of adults ringing in my ear - "These are the best times of your life, don't waste it" - I declined. After all, there are only four homecomings in my high school career. What's one Dynamo game compared to that?
Well, I went to the dance, and my friend went to the game. Who made the better decision? Depends on the match, I suppose. It would have to be legendary, right? Now then... which match was it...
Ahem. Yes, well, who looks stupid now?
Disclaimer #1: I had a great time at Homecoming, so if my other friends are somehow reading this (I'm pretty sure they aren't), please don't hate me. This isn't a reflection on you, but instead a measure of how transcendent Ching's goal was.
Surely, having missed such an unbelievable moment in Dynamo history, I would be spared any further punishment. Life, it turned out, had other ideas. Let me explain:
I woke up early the next morning to play a regular season game at Borrough's Park. Only ten other teammates made it out as well, some of which had the air of... celebration... still on their breath. The match was against the worst team in our league, but they had ample energy and subs.
Despite the disadvantage, we slogged out a 0-0 draw. In the final minutes, however, things erupted. I got tangled in a challenge with an opposing player. We fell to the ground, with my face inches from his legs. Either maliciously (definitely) or having been suddenly seized by the will of the gods (probably not), the player kicked me twice in the face.
As I lay dying, a teammate of mine made sure the opposing player knew that his actions were less than sportsmanlike. The whistle blew, game over.
I left the game, face adorned with a nice array of dime-sized indentations, and went to my birthday lunch with my family.
Disclaimer #2: It actually was my birthday, I'm not just fishing for unwarranted sympathy.
So, I apologize, Mr. Ching. I hope one day you will forgive my youthful ignorance. Just know that I did not suffer my mistake lightly.
Your time in Houston was filled with numerous other moments of excellence. But when I think back at your time here, I will remember a Homecoming Dance, and two swift kicks to the face.