After I dropped Sarah off at her physics class I quickly moved on to algebra II and got there just on time. I discovered along the course of the day that I had almost all of my classes with Sarah and that made me very happy somehow. After the bell rang and I moved out of class I was immediately swarmed by a crowd of the more popular students. I smiled at them and started up a conversation…maybe I could make some new friends already! I certainly hadn’t expected to have so many people wanting to be my friend on my first day of school! Mum would be so happy!
On my way out the door into the schoolyard I noticed Sarah walking off from school with her book bag flung over one shoulder. She looked so alone…just like she had in the canteen. “Aw man, you don’t want to bother with her!” said one of the boys, Jake I believe was his name. “She’s a—“ he caught himself as if he was about to give something away that he shouldn’t have, “She’s a loner!” he finished.
“Well…maybe if someone would just take the time to be her friend…she wouldn’t be a loner anymore would she?” I suggested, then made as if to break away from my group of followers and head toward Sarah.
Jake caught my arm, “Hey man, you really don’t want to do that…she’s one of the most unpopular people at school…”
I rolled my eyes, “So?” I asked.
“Dude,” he said seriously, “just don’t do it.”
I sighed and gave in. “Alright…So you guys have anything planned for today?” I asked.
“Actually yes, we were going to head over to the sports center to play some football. You wanna tag along?” Jake offered.
I grinned; football was one thing I knew I could do. “Sure! I’d love to! Anybody need a ride?”
I eventually ended up with Amber sitting next to me in the front, and a couple named Emily and Tyler sitting in the back. I followed Jake to a huge, shiny, new-looking building and into a big parking lot. After locking up I hurried after the others. The pitch had two poles on either side with a big ‘U’ on top instead of goal nets. It was also marked with straight, numbered lines as apposed to the normal football pitch markings. “This is a football pitch?” I asked Jake curiously as we entered it.
Jake grinned, “Yeah, duh! What did you think it was? A rugby field?”
At that point I remembered that Americans had a different name for football, they called it…soccer…I believe. I had never played American football before! “Errm, I had thought you meant soccer…I’ve never played American football before…you guys will have to teach me!”
Jake’s grin widened. “Alright then, we are playing flag football. The point is to get this—“ Jake held up a ovular, brown ball, “—across the field if you are on the offence. If you are playing defense, then the point is to block your man and prevent him from getting the ball. If he does then you have to pull one of his flags off of his belt. Got it?”
I nodded…it would take some learning, but I thought I might be able to get it after a while.
When I got home that day I was a little bruised, but very happy. I had finally gotten a grasp on how to play the new game, and I already fit in with the group. When my mum saw me however, she gasped. “What did they do to you?! Did they bully you on the first day?!” she exclaimed unhappily.
I grinned. “Quite the opposite mum! They were all really happy to meet me and I made a bunch of new friends! We all played this game they call football, it’s a lot like rugby except that instead of tackling you have to take a flag off of their belt.” I said with a grin. “Of course every once in a while accidents happen and you still get tackled a bit, but it was great fun!”
Mum relaxed, “Glad to hear you are fitting in so well at your new school Josh! Did they assign much home work today?”
I shook my head, “It’s the first day of school mum! Only really mean teachers would do that!”
Mum smiled, “Your tea is in the oven dear,” she said before heading out to get back to work…she had just come back for her tea before leaving again.
“Thank’s mum!” I called after her.