Friday, February 29, 2008

The Night We Never Met

When I was a senior in high school I played football but also had a part time job as a bagger at a local supermarket. As it turns out the combination of these two things was the way that I ended up meeting ole Mt. Cat who ends up turning out to be one of my best lifelong friends. This is the story of how we met and how we sort of met before we ever met. It will make more sense as I tell it.

Friday night football is a huge tradition at our high school (West Charlotte Senior High) and back when we were there we were really good. My senior year we were undefeated conference champs. One thing you need to know about West Charlotte high is that although the school was very racially diverse historically it was known as an African American high school. It's located in a very prominent "black" part of town and has always been a source of pride in the black community. Especially the athletic teams and the marching band. No offense to the rest of ya'll bands but our band could JAM!

I tell you all this to set the stage for the picture of me on the football team. There were multiple white players on the team but we were in the minority. Certainly no problem there...may the best athlete play. However lets just say that I was one of very few white players on defense. There were actually like 2 of us. I was also not a starter, as a safety I played when the defense needed additional coverage for receivers and on special teams. My group of friends and classmates always used to sit together at games and sometimes they would call out things from the stands to show their support and encouragement for the team and my playing status. It was not at all unusual to hear things yelled from behind me during games such as "Hey Coach, Put the white boy in!" or "White boy....48 white boy 48" (my number) I prefer to think of them as just having a lot of school spirit and support for the team and not that they were making fun of me.

Enter Vince. (Mt. Cat) Now what you have to know about Vin at this point is that he is not from Charlotte, NC. Vin is from Brooklyn New York City and moved to Charlotte NC during the summer before his senior year of high school. I can't even imagine the culture shock he went through not just in terms of the difference in city but it was a big transition in school and just before his senior year. I guess that he didn't know very many people. He and I hadn't met. Heck there were probably 3000 students at our school. The only people that he knew were kids that he had met at his new job as a cashier at a grocery store. Yep you guessed it, the same grocery store that I worked at on the weekends.

OK, back to the football game. One Friday night early in that fall of 1989 Vince decides to check out the school football team and go to the game. I am sure that we were demolishing some poor opponent and so the mood in the stands was pretty good. As fate would have it Vince happens to find a large group of students to sit with that just happen to be acting as my own personal cheering section that night. So as he is sitting there hanging out watching the game apparently people are cheering things like "GO SHANE!!" " Way to go 48" and other very encouraging things just trying to keep up the school spirit. So curiosity gets the better of him and he asks the guy sitting next to him. "Who are they yelling for? Who is this Shane?" and the response that he gets is something along the lines of a drunken slurr "He'sssss numberrrr forty-eight. He'ssss the best playerrrrr" Vince then searches the field looking for this hero. This team leader who is helping the Lions crush their opponent. Is he scoring Touchdowns? Is he sacking the quarterback? Suddenly he spots the elusive 48. The one who makes the other students chant special things. And Vin then asks the million dollar question.... "Hey, If he's the best player then what is he doing on the bench?"

Fast forward to the weekend. I am going to my job at the grocery store where I usually clean up the back room and mop the floor... 25 times just to make sure it's clean. (and to get out of the real work) and I notice there is a new guy up front as a cashier. I ask Carol in the office who this new guy is and am told. "His name is Vinny. He is from New Yaak" OK fair enough. I go about my duties. Later when Vin goes to take his break I come in to introduce myself. The conversation went a little something like this:

"Hey, I'm Shane, I hear you are from New York. Cool. Hey where do you go to school?"
"I just started at West Charlotte."
"Cool I go there too... I play......football"
"Oh, so you're Shane!!??"
At this point I think that my reputation has exceeded me so I smile and get ready to enjoy my adoration as a football hero when Vin follows it up with, "So hey, why do you ride the bench?"

I guess my reputation did proceed me... Too well in fact.

I am still not sure how we got to be such good friends after the night we never met.

-Doc

39 comments:

Micky-T said...

Good story Doc!
Do you remember your answer?

Doc said...

LOL...knowing me I bet I tried to change the subject. As it turns out we ended up hanging out and talking after work that night. We went out for burgers to this place where I knew the girls working there (ie free food) and ole Mt. Cat ended up saying to the manager at the place..."How about a little Coke with my ice?" when we were getting it for free... ROFL!

The Mountain Cat said...

This story is true expect for a couple of minor variations.
At the football game, I asked this girl Stephanie next to me 'Who is Shane?' Then she said 'He is #48'. Now since Googling for information on an iPhone was not available in 1989, I had to search the field with my eyes. Then I found #48 and then said something like 'Why the hell are you cheering for a guy on the bench??'

Secondly Doc, now that I think about it, it was our co-worker and co-student Holly who introduced us. I remember we were near the lunch room in the back of the grocery store and you were standing there with your mop just like Michael Richards as Stanley Spadowski in the film 'UHF'.
Holly said in her cute southern drawl 'Vanny, did'ja meet Shane yeht? He goes to West Cha'lot High too. And he's on the football tahme.'
I know this to be true because the very first words I then said to you were; 'Oh you're Shane?!' :-)

Doc said...

I thought you told me you asked Ian at the football game? Anyway the story was written that way for effect....

The Mountain Cat said...

I don't remember Ian? Was he the tall guy with glasses or the fat guy with the pot smoked bloodshot eyes? But I do remember Stephanie. And I do remember Holly. I never forgot the woman but I do forget the men. ;)
Great storytelling though. There are no exaggerations!

Micky-T said...

'Vanny, did'ja meet Shane yeht? He goes to West Cha'lot High too. And he's on the football tahme.'
LMAO while ROFL

Doc said...

Ian would be that fat dude with bloodshot eyes but I dont think it was from pot.. He had terrible allergies...True story

and how could I have ever made that up unless you told me it was him? I was on the field (or bench) I didn't come up with that name out of thin air?

The Mountain Cat said...

I'm not arguing with you. I just remember Stephanie as she had a pretty face.
And I thought you didn't hang with Ian and the other guys because they smoked pot a lot?

Jahooni said...

Can we chime in or is this a post just for the two of you? ;)~

Doc said...

Stephanie woudl have been there. I used to want to date her but never did.... probably because I was to busy being a football hero!

Doc said...

ROFL @ Jahooni!

The Mountain Cat said...

Jahoooooni is awake! What's for breakfast? Y'all can chime in, please.

Doc said...

Dude... I have always thought that was a creeeepy picture of Billy Joel.

"It's 3:15 on a Friday....."

The Mountain Cat said...

Doc, Have you seen him lately??? eek! You have to come up this summer so we can see him play at Shea Field.
BTW: I put that photo up for a reason. Doc and I used to play the song 'Piano Man' every Friday when we left school at 3:15pm. It was our beginning of the weekend song. I used to drive us home with our friend Perry. Doc, now tell the crowd how you managed to get into my car before I did even without car keys.

Micky-T said...

Jahooni-
They do ramble on a bit don't they?

You got a love it though!
A fun place to come visit!

The Mountain Cat said...

Ramble on!
(And nows the time, the time is now) To sing my song.
I'm goin round the world,
I got to find my girl, on my way.

Doc said...

Vin drove this old Blue Chevy Celebrity that you could actually pull the door lock out of the door (from the outside) and unlock it. I never told him how I would do it... but he would lock the car every morning and in the afternoon I would be sitting in the car waiting for him... That used to frustrate him 'cause I wouldn't tell him how I was getting in...HA!
Alas that car met a very sad end.

The Mountain Cat said...

The sad ending to the Blue Chevy is a WHOLE other long story to itself!

Also, another story variation: I was a bag boy when I first started at the grocery store. Then I became a cashier, then a stock man.

'I clean public labortories. But I am due for a promotion. Soon I get to use my own brush.'
- Monty Python

(Doc, 'Let Me Clear My Throat' is on Leap O' Faith's radio right now).

Jay said...

That is such a sweet, touching story. You guys are so cute together. Look at ya, arguing over how it all went down. ;-)

The Mountain Cat said...

Wait Doc come to think of it, it was not a football game! You were playing Jai-Alai! ROTFL!!!!! (just kidding)

Doc said...

Thanks Jay.... *Rollseyes* YEESH!

Vin - my favorite part of that song is when he clears his throat to the beat... HA!

The Mountain Cat said...

'eh-ha eh-ha eh!'

Leighann said...

Such a romantic story *sigh* I can see why you guys (fell in love) became friends!!

LMFAO @ Jahooni!! She should win a peach for THAT!!

Christine said...

You could star in your own film - call it...Quarterback Mountain.

The Mountain Cat said...

ahahahahahah!!!! Christine, too funny!

'Doc I wish I knew how to quit contradictin' you.'

Doc said...

Or Broke-bench Mountain...

Awwww now I am helping ya'll out making fun of us.

The Mountain Cat said...

Broke-Car-Door Mountain Cat

Pat said...

CHRISTINE
dont you feel like these stories are about someone we dont even know??? Our lil Borg es Shmorg

Christine said...

Yes, Pat, mostly happy to hear he had an okay time there down South, and met a nice boy named Doc.

Sometimes it make me feel a little sad, though :( Being those "few" yers older than Mt Cat, I missed a part of his life. Aww, Vinny.

I remember once dropping him on his head when he was about 2!

The Mountain Cat said...

Hell Pat and Chris, y'all would have been like 'parental guardians' if you lived down south. you would have ruined my 'college experience'.

Doc said...

I remember once dropping him on his head when he was about 2!


This statement helps to explain a few things....

The Mountain Cat said...

I always tell people I was dropped as a fetus.

Single In The City said...

That is a good story! You 2 were destined to be Best Friends!!!!

THE FOOTBALL HERO & THE Cashier.. This is a start of a lifetime movie Guys!!!


Shalom

Tink said...

Aw, you needed someone to knock you down a peg or four. That's so sweet. ;)

Jahooni said...

i am a tad bit emotional today... my sister left for home. i came back to get a laugh since my eyes are so swollen that i can barely see how to type (thank goodness i do that for a living) but i needed a laugh and i knew i could find it here. thanks! ;)~
and thanks for letting us join in... ;)~

Jahooni said...

oh wait,
i want a peach for that! ;)~

Jahooni said...

TMC,
your picture is scary! change it quick.

Karen said...

Very fuuny. LOL.

Anonymous said...

Love it, love it, love it!! = )

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