By Marilyn Nelson
Which reminds me of another knock-on-wood
memory. I was cycling with a male friend,
through a small midwestern town. We came to a 4-way
stop and stopped, chatting. As we started again,
a rusty old pick-up truck, ignoring the stop sign,
hurricaned past scant inches from our front wheels.
My partner called, "Hey, that was a 4-way stop!"
The truck driver, stringy blond hair a long fringe
under his brand-name beer cap, looked back and yelled,
"You fucking niggers!"
And sped off.
My friend and I looked at each other and shook our heads.
We remounted our bikes and headed out of town.
We were pedaling through a clear blue afternoon
between two fields of almost-ripened wheat
bordered by cornflowers and Queen Anne's lace
when we heard an unmuffled motor, a honk-honking.
We stopped, closed ranks, made fists.
It was the same truck. It pulled over.
A tall, very much in shape young white guy slid out:
greasy jeans, homemade finger tattoos, probably
a Marine Corps boot-camp footlockerful
of martial arts techniques.
"What did you say back there!" he shouted.
My friend said, "I said it was a 4-way stop.
You went through it."
"And what did I say?" the white guy asked.
"You said: 'You fucking niggers.'"
The afternoon froze.
"Well," said the white guy,
shoving his hands into his pockets
and pushing dirt around with the pointed toe of his boot,
"I just want to say I'm sorry."
He climbed back into his truck
and drove away.
1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?
Baseball, some football, some ice skating, some college basketball during the playoffs. Minor league baseball is my favorite to watch live. Football is my favorite on television.
2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?
I grew up a fan of the Washington Redskins. Yes, they should change their name -- I still can't believe that public sentiment forced the Bullets to become the Wizards but the Redskins are still running around. Art Monk was my all-time favorite Redskins player. Since DC has no baseball team, I grew up rooting for the Orioles but had no real passion for a baseball team until we moved to Chicago and could see Comiskey Field from our 31st floor window. There were a lot of players I loved on that early 1990s team -- Robin Ventura, Frank Thomas -- but my very favorite was Bo Jackson, who arrived in Chicago after his career-ending football injury, hit a home run in his first at bat, and went and finished college after he left sports. Also, it was impossible to live in Chicago in that era without being in love with both Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but to pretend that I seriously followed basketball before the championship series would be a lie. Martina Navratilova was one of my heoines growing up. Like all skating fans of my era, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean will never have any peers in my mind.
3. Are there any sports you hate?
4. Have you ever been to a sports event?
Pro football, basketball, baseball, soccer, hockey and tennis; college football, basketball, baseball and track (the Penn Relays); high school football and basketball; numerous skating exhibitions and pro competitions; gymnastics exhibitions; I'm sure there are others I'm forgetting.
5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?
Nope. Am armchair quarterback.
Who is your West Wing boyfriend?
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I gacked this quiz from musesfool, who wants my answer and she can have him. I wanted Charlie. Would be content with Sam for a few weeks. Would happily take Leo if he weren't such a bad long-term bet. Find myself attracted to Bartlet, which does not please me for a host of reasons. But Josh? Is the kind of guy I avoided in college. And screwing a