It was a busy Friday about a week ago because I had to get Joaquin to school at 8am for football pictures, my haircut at 9am then pick up the boy at 10:30am. Emmy in tow we successfully accomplished our mission.
After all the running around, we got home and I worked while they watched TV for the day. It was their last week of summer vacation and we had an early day on Saturday since the Antonian Apaches had a football scrimmage in Burnet TX so he had to be at school early the next morning.
At 4pm, Liz came home to take Emmy to the open house at Blessed Sacrament Catholic School. I took Joaquin to the Football Booster “kick off” ice cream social at Antonian High school. I’m not much for crowds but since he was a freshman, I should go.
We arrived at 6pm and the head coach proceeded with the whole “Rah-Rah-Rah!” thing. He even did a “football clinic” for parents (mostly Moms) that didn’t understand the game. He enlisted the help of Fathers and used them as examples of what each player would do on the field. I was picked to demonstrate how a running back would hold the football, run, then stiff-arm a defensive player.
I think I did pretty well but noticed my young freshman son Joaquin, shrink into the crowd (he hung out with the other freshman players — too cool to sit with Dad) fearing I would do something embarrassing.
Ahh, teenagers…so nervous we will embarrass them…not yet my son…not yet…
Then the Auction started. They had to auction off to “boost” the money coming into the football squad. Seemed kind of fun. They even had the cheerleaders there to do the “Price Is Right” model thing.
1st up was a football signed by all of the Freshman football players with a sliver sharpie.
“What do we have for a starting bid!?” Screamed the over enthiusiatic Dad they had recruited to be the Auctioneer. “Bids start at $20! – do I hear $30?”
It sold for $300. What a great way to start the Auction. I wonder what they’d get for the next items?
Ooooo…that stadium package looks cool. An Antonian staduim chair, umbrellla, baseball hat, blanket and rain cover. What more would you want?
“Starting bid for this football stadium package …how about $100!”
I immediately tapped out — no thanks. It sold for $300. Good decision on my part.
Then the JV football was up next, presented by one of the Apache Cheerleaders. Same ball, same silver sharpie signatures from all the JV players…“Let’s start this one off at $200! Do I hear $250?”
“We have $250! Do I hear $300! How about $500! Do I hear $500!”
I almost choked when heard, “I’ve got $800! Now $1,000!”
Did I just hear, $1,000 dollars?!
Suddenly, my nervous laughter morphed into gasps as the bidding got higher…and higher. The crowd was now feverish with excitement, like Hyenas at a kill. Yelping out bids in $100 and $200 increments. The hairs on the back of my neck and arms stood up…
When the bidding got to $1200 I was still smiling…but smiling in fear that someone might notice I was not part of the “crowd.” I continued my charade, cleverly wiping away the bead of sweat forming on my forehead while no one was looking…
One parent would look up, nod to signify that they would bid higher….$1800!
Okay…now this was getting out of hand for me. I scanned the room for the nearest exit. I had already fished out my truck keys and was prepared to stand up, politely feign some “digestive distress” then move towards my son and pull him out and escape out the back door; I had already mapped out in my mind the quickest route to my truck.
…I nearly jumped out of my seat when a parent next to me grabbed my arm and yelled, “Isn’t this great!”
“Yes, it is…Hahahahahnahah…!” I replied, and settled back into my chair…almost lost it there.
The JV football sold for $2,300!
Yes….TWENTY THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!”
“In American?” As my dear Father-in-law would say, God rest his soul.
Oh my God….that was only the third item on the table of 10.
It’s getting warm in here — did someone turn off the AC? I began to wonder if I had made a mistake enrolling my son into this school. I mean, private school is not cheap but c’mon, $2,300 for a football?
Everyone was laughing, cheering and screaming for more…I kept my cool and just laughed and waved back to anyone that made eye contact with me. I had to keep my composure if my son and I were to leave this place alive…
The Varsity football went for only $1,500! Don’t ask me why it sold lower than the JV.
Next up was one of the two VIP parking slots for home games. I mean, who wants to park way up at the school grounds and walk all the way down to the field when you could purchase two VIP parking spots at the front gate of the stadium? They held up the signs, they were made out of foam core.
The bidding was savagely fierce! People would jump from $800 right to $1,000!
They sold for $1,200 and $1,500 each.
OMG, OMG…I’ve got Joaquin at the wrong school.
But I managed to maintain my composure and we left with our lives.
Thank you late night TV for all those SCIFI flicks I watched alone.
I got home and told Liz of the incredible evening I had survived. She just laughed and calmed me down…”This is high school Hun. It’s totally different.”
I agreed with a nervous laughter.
That’s how it all begins you know, your loved one is suddenly “different” and before you realize it, your watering the garden when you find a husk of your former mate in the garden, fertilizing the plants….just like Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Stepford Wives.
No duplicate of my loved one in the garden though…
I came back to bed, sighed, kissed my beloved gently on the cheek then rolled over and fell into a fitful night of sleep. Nightmarish images of people chasing me filled my dreams. At one point, I rolled over and came face to face with my beloved wife, staring at me with a faceless expression, eyes open with her mouth agape as a serpentine tongue flickered, testing the air for infidels.
Then I sit bolt upright in bed, my heart beating explosively in my chest…
The story about the Auction is totally true my firiends. Okay, maybe I put a little creative spin on the bidding but the costs are accurate. It just got me all worked up like those SCIFI movies I love to watch. I guess high school is different but man…I didn’t imagine it like this…or did I?
PS – Funny…both updated movies had Nicole Kidman in them…creepy.