Game On!

03 April, 2007

Last night at work, the conversation was fixed on calling up mates.

Apparently Someone had this git going to try and go him, but he called up mates (some of whom also called up mates) and there were 40-odd people waiting for this guy to show up so they could kick his head in. Then he told us about the time, a few years ago, when the class above us played this game with the year above them, which basically involved keeping possession of a ball. One day, a kid got tackled. He tried hitting the year 12 to get him off. He got hit back. Then the year 11s looked at the year 12s. the year 12s looked at the year 11s. The greater part of the two year levels then punched on. There was no real option.

That got me thinking about last year, and those delightful young folk in Middle School. Specifically, how all those rivalries, feuds, etc that had been steadily stewing since year seven just disappeared when those delightful young folk were messin’ with our faction, it was the rest of our year’s moral obligation to come to our assistance.

And then of course there was later that day, when four guys decided to try and take down Butland. He just bolted off to his class, with said four year 10 students hot on his tail. Closely following them was the greater part of the Senior School, with Mr Skelly at our head, ripping into them, while we just stood there and watched them shit themselves as they turned around to see a raging teacher and a couple of hundred kids behind him.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

###The Beginning

I suppose that, If we’re completely honest, it was our fault. Back one day in April aught-six, we started playing a game with a few of the more benign year 9s (and a few of the more belligerent ones) that involved giving them the football and then tackling them to get it back. We played this for about a term, until they started running off with the ball to the top oval, swamping Kieren and anyone else slow enough. We said repeatedly, “Pack your bags, kids this isn’t what we wanted.” But they kept doing it. And we were heavily outnumbered by this time, and they played as a team, while we still were in the style we started with, deck as many of the little snots as possible.

We often ended up chasing the faster ones through the schoolyard, so what was happening down on the lower oval became known to both our year levels, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the school. And we were getting angrier each passing week. Here and there there were a few nasty exchanges of words.

###Game On!

The last day they played their game, they once again picked on Butland. As soon as he’d get the ball, they’d start jumping on him, while he just shook them off. Eventually, they’d get the weight distribution right, and he’d just tumble down. Well this day, they held on longer than normal, so we started coming in to help him out.

Turns out they took longer because they were kicking him while he was still on the ground. One kid took this to the extreme, and even kept kicking him while Butland held onto his shin, trying to stop him. What he ended up doing was setting up the powder keg that thankfully brought this whole thing to an end. The kid kicked so hard, that he effectively broke his own leg. And it was one of the worst sounds that you could ever hear. I didn’t hear it myself, but I actually saw the others who did. They recoiled like they’d just seen a trench spike going clean through zombie skull. (That was why those four year 10s took it upon themselves to try and beat Butland)

###The Red Arrow

And then there was the following day. You could smell the bloodlust in the air.

Homegroup saw us inundated with people saying ‘If they try to start someone, get Crowther (World-class(really!)runner extrodinare) to run up and get “me and the boys”’. As I said in my blog at the time, there were slightly less than a dozen teachers. What I didn’t say was that all the petty disputes that had been stewing since year seven were set aside, and year 12 was at our back. 130 guys just sitting back, waiting for the little bastards to give us the excuse we needed to beat their snotty faces into the dirt. Then word got around that the year 10s were there too. That made it Middle School Vs Year 12. Well, Year 11 weren’t gonna stand for that. They started prowling around too, and their usual soccer game was suspiciously larger than usual that day.

I’ll just give a quick runthrough of the teachers standing watch that day. We had in attendance one Assistant Principal, a total of 6 YLCs - both the Year 12 Coordinators, both the Year 10 Coordinators (one of whom was inexplicably armed with a shovel,) both the Year 9 Coordinators (one of whom was built like a brick outhouse,) the Head of Senior School, and two of the yard duty teachers.

Thinking back now, they must have been absolutely terrified. There were 400 students who were on tenterhooks, just spoiling for a fight.

I can’t imagine just how happy they were when the 100-odd year 9s and 10s at the far end of the oval just stood around. Eventually, one of the teachers sent them off to pick up rubbish for loitering. They might not have understood that, while they had us outnumbered by more than 3-to-1 in plain sight, it would take about 30 seconds for our ‘Observers’ standing up along the portables behind us to duck up to their mates in the Senior Courtyard behind us and bring up the Cav.

But no one understands better the pack mentality of a high school year level as well as a teacher. They knew exactly how close they were to massive violence taking place on the lower oval that day, But we just played football, thankful that it was just us for once, and knowing that if anything happened, those guys who had been mooseying on down to check out the situation would be back as soon as we could bellow “Hey guys, give us a hand wouldya?”


And I think that’s one of the main reasons why I don’t hate all of our year anymore. They’re subject to mild indifference, but that’s it. All because of that primative part of the male cerebellum that says “Yeah, sure you don’t like ‘em. they’re the outcasts down on the oval. But they’re Year 12 outcasts, and you just can’t leave them to get roughed up by the Middle School. Those delightful young folk are already far too uppity. … … DAMMIT MAN, YOU’VE GOT NO CHOICE! GO AND DEFEND YOUR CLASS’ HONOUR”