Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bye for now

Johnny's been a good sport to let me take over his blog this month. Now, with the end of March, I'll add one more memory.

I wanted to join the boys' soccer squad in Middle School. Not that they didn't have enough boys signing up, which I hear is a problema in some school districts. It's just that the girls were not competitive enough for me. And they could be very competitive, believe me! But growing up with three brothers and being something of a tomboy, I needed more of a challenge.

So my brother Antonio took me out to the field during the boys' practice and introduced me to the coach. When I asked to join the team, the man spat his whistle from his mouth and laughed at me. "Who ever heard of such a thing?" he guffawed.

"At least let me try out," I requested, bouncing a ball knee to knee to show him what I could do.

"The cheerleaders are over there," he said, jerking his thumb and widening his stance.

It sure looked like a goal to me.

So I drop-kicked the ball hard, right between his goalposts, so to speak.

I was suspended for three days.

Ay, when I got home my Mami had the fire of an amazona in her eyes while she stirred the habichuelas on the stove.

"Y que te ha entrado a ti? El que diran?" she scolded. "What has gotten into you? What will they say?"

"They'll say I should have been allowed to try out."

So I was sent to bed without supper as well.

This is one of the 'rules' of growing up Latina: do not forget a woman's place. To be an 'independently minded Latina' is seen by many as a contradiction in terms. This is why a Latina must be brave -- to deal with the pressures of our jobs, our families' expectations, our tradiciones, and our own divided selves contra viento y marea, against all odds.

That's it. I guess I'll "see" you next time when Johnny's book VIPER comes out, maybe around Christmas. For now, adios.

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