CHEAP EATS They don’t have kickoffs. They just start the game. It was the Lexington Club Bruisers vs. the Diablas, and we were the only two people in the stands. Again. Me and Twinkle Wonderkid.
Crocker Amazon. The weather: football weather, foggy and freezing … I had every intention in the world of rooting for the Bruisers. I don’t know, the Lexington Club just kind of feels like the home team to me. Plus I like the pink shirts.
However, there was a lot more pink on the field than there was blue. First I thought all the Diablas were lost in the fog. Then the Kid helped me count, and it was eight to five. And the mismatch was not only on the field; the Lexington Club had a separate offense and defense, a few extra subs, and two cheerleaders.
So the five Diablas on the field were going to have to play both sides of the ball, every play, whole game, and cheer for themselves too. They didn’t look very cheerful. They looked defeated, shoulders slumped and faces blank as blankets. They seemed sleepy and soft, as if the fog were on the inside too.
"Oh no," I said.
Twinkle stated the obvious. "We can’t exactly not root for the underdog," she said. Then: "Can we?" She’s not as experienced a football fan as I am.
"Oh no," I said. "Oh no no no no no." I wasn’t thinking about rooting for anyone anymore. My cleats were in my pickup truck. My truck was in the parking lot. The parking lot was just on the other side of the playing field…. I come from Ohio. Rooting be damned, I wanted to play for the Diablas.
I stood up, sat back down, stood up, and then, like a good Sunday morning Catholic, knelt. The thing was that, technically speaking, I was on a date. Twinkle Wonderkid and me are positively hooked on girl football. It’s our thing. Sunday mornings, Crocker Amazon. We pick up some chicken adobo or a mess o’ meat meat meat at Turo-Turo or the South Pacific Island Restaurant, and we tailgate in the Crocker Amazon parking lot, or picnic on a blanket in the grass, and then cross the field to watch the games from the bleachers. If I got to play, Twinkle’d be sitting in the stands all alonesome, and what kind of a date is that?
"Go ahead," she said, being pretty saintly for an ex-sailor and a cowboy girl. "Are you kidding me? I’d love to watch you play football."
I decided not to say, "Really?" – not even once – for fear she would change her mind. I also decided to wait a while, until the Diablas were getting crushed. Outnumbered eight-to-five on the field, and at least eight-to-none on the sidelines … it didn’t take long. They play 20-minute halves, and our girls were down to the Bruisers 19-0 by halftime.
"Wish me luck," I said, kissing Twinkle on the cheek, and I crossed the field in my shit-kicker buckle shoes and swirly skirt to ask, for the first time since I was seven, if I could play.
I asked the Diablas, the Bruisers, the refs, and the league commissioner. They all said the same thing: I couldn’t play. I could play. I mean, I couldn’t not play because I was trans, but because it was too late to get on the roster, halftime of Game Four being on the wrong side of the sign-up deadline, apparently. Well! …
I wished the Diablas the best of luck, told them we were on their side, hang in there, they were my new favorite football team, could I play for them next season, here’s my phone number, gimme a call, next season we can be outnumbered eight-to-six, etc., and I clomped back across the middle of the field, trying not to feel like a halftime show.
Lucky me! If they would have let me play, I wouldn’t have gotten to watch the greatest, most inspired, most inspiring comeback in the history of sports. Remember: I watched Joe Montana work. And Steve Young. Hell, I remember John Brodie to Gene Washington, a playoff game against the Redskins. And I’ve never seen anything like this.
By the closing whistle, me and the Kid were all screamed out and piss-pantsed, the score was tied 19-19, and I was madly in love with five of the badassest ballplayers I’d ever seen play ball.
Turo-Turo’s a fine, fine restaurant, but I like South Pacific Island even better, so … *
SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND RESTAURANT
Tues.-Sat., 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
2803 Geneva, Daly City