Sunday, June 30, 2013

Kelston Confession

Is it okay to lie when it's at the cost of protecting your friends?......your family?
This event has never been brought up in my discussions with any of the boys involved, but just as I thought it was a permanent deselection of my memory, it's vivid imagery recently played out in my head in HD. Maybe writing this will make it ok?

There was a concrete block a little shy off the size of a football field where a lot of the boys would play touch, or held....or touch that turned into held before school started, morning interval and lunch. It was enclosed by a horse-shoe shaped compound which were two-storey buildings made up of the social studies, economics, and accounting classes. We referred to it as "D" block or "the quad"

One particular morning we played, it was a typical scrimmage with taunting, teasing, threats, laughs, until the traditional call was made at the bell "last try wins!". At that moment a prop-forward who had no idea how to kick a ball thought it would be clever to swipe his foot on the ball to get it as high as possible. Every player and spectator watched as the ball went vertical, then drift as the wind pushed it sideways, and as it moved, I assume that we had all calculated that the next few seconds will result in the rugby ball high fiving one of the second storey windows. And as it made contact my fists clenched, heck I think my arse cheeks did too. In that split second it looked like slo-mo as I'd hoped it would bounce off and return to the quad. The window instantly smashed and fragmented in a million little pieces.

But before I could even think "why in the world did I kick the ball?" One of the boys shouted "everyone look over there!" The spectators had dispersed in a flash as the teachers arrived on the quad moments after, they too were looking in the same direction as the boys in unison had various murmurs of "who did that?" humming around, I found myself doing the same.

In the following classes, I watched as individual boys who played on the quad that morning were being called to the principals office. Naima returned to class and said "don't say a word". It seemed like a lifetime but as I had been anxiously anticipating, it was my turn. I met another brother as he was leaving the office "don't say anything, none of us have said anything."

I entered the office and stood opposite Mr Watt. I wasn't invited to sit and he asked calmly "did you kick the ball that smashed the window in d block?" I thought he knew, one of the boys had said something, but I stood there, head down, remembering the advice I was given. He continued with a short lecture, about responsibility, accountability, that someone had to pay the price for the broken window. There was a moment of me wanting to own up but my fear of the consequences won me over. He dismissed me.

On the way out, another was waiting to come in. He nodded at me, I nodded back.
That afternoon I watched as the window got fixed by contractors. Guilt wandered in my head, a couple of boys would put their hand on my shoulder, or slap my back on passing each other, but none ever spoke it, and we never have since.

I'm thankful to all the boys that had my back that day. I realise how much of a comradery we shared. BUT is it okay to lie when it's at the cost of protecting your friends?......your family?
If I could talk to that 16 year old boy today I would tell him to own up. If I was one of the brothers, my conscience would tell me to encourage him to own up.

Ironically at the same time, this event solidified the fact that Kelston Brothers look out for each other at a level no one would's a Kelston thing.


p.s: I wonder if Kelston Boys has a building fund I could donate to?

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