WELL, THAT'S CAMBRIDGE FOR YAH!
how many precautions, road blocks and legislative barriers are voted into place, some New Yorkers
end up migrating to Cambridge, anyway. Just as the US Government tried to cover up the alien saucer crash
in Roswell, Arizona, the higher-ups and big wigs claim there is nothing they can do about it.
So this is Cambridge, for ya!
I get a call from my friend Kareem. He is helping coach
his daughter's softball team, and wants me to stop by. As I said before he is one of my assistant
football coaches, a city worker, and a member of my "Think Tank".
He is a good
guy and would be helping with his kid's softball team even if it wasn't part of his parole agreement! Trust me, I
know this guy.
He's real and authentic at the same time.
His daughter plays
for the Royals, which he tells me with a sardonic, but tender, twinkle in his eye, " is short for Royal Pains in the
"You know what I mean", he says (as he punches me in the arm). "It's true",
he says (as he puts me in a head lock). "Cambridge is so goddamned PC," he says, as he gives me a pound,
slaps me five (high, then low), grabs my hand in the traditional "Brother" handshake only to degenerate
into a seemingly Houdini-like contortionist grip, and then trails off into a combination of slang, jive, football terminology,
and mea culpas (I think.)"
As usual, I stand there and nod agreeably, and wonder to myself, "Am
I missing something?"
Well, that's Cambridge for yah!
This is a city-wide
league so you have girls who are the offspring of various Cambridge Types. Girls of all different colors and hues.
Girls from different neighborhoods. And, as they say, of different socioeconomic backgrounds.
Besides Kareem, the coaching staff is made up of Ken, a Stockbroker who is a gray haired grandfather of one of
the girls and who comes to the game attired in a white polo shirt, khaki shorts and full brahmin accent;
and Leslie, a lesbian who never attends a game or practice without her traditional attire: a profeminist
tee-shirt with a gold-plated double headed axe hanging on a chain around her neck. Crystal informs me later, that this
axe is called a Labrys, an ancient symbol of the female sex organs - talk about a double edged sword.) When she shows
up, Kareem glances in my direction and I glance back to him and then to Ken, and the three of us gasp a traditional
primitive groan as we go to protect our privates, but then think better of it. (This archetypal groan and protecting
of one's privates, it should be noted, is in the ancestral memory bank of the collected unconscious of the
race, goes back well over 3,000,000 years, and crosses over all other geographical, national, cultural or racial boundaries.)
The head coach is Joan, an articulate young black woman who besides coaching the
Royals, teaches at Harvard Divinity School where she recently completed her Doctoral Studies in Ethics. Even though
I'm a successful and respected football coach, who can instill fear and acquiescence into most of my players, I feel
like a disobedient puppy waiting to be scolded when she shows up. Ken and Kareem seem like they got their tails between
their legs too. Joan's in control and she knows it. Her girls gather around her, Ken and Kareem wait for directions,
and I back off the field (before being ordered to do so).
Well, that's Cambridge
The Royals, (with Joan now on the scene there is no more joking from Kareem about their name,
or nothing else for that matter) are in the finals of the league playoffs with the Lady Bugs, who incidentally are coached
by a man. Richie's a single father of one of the girls and is considered, by rival coaches and parents of
girls on the other teams, to be a bit overzealous and enthusiastic to the extreme. He talks, pleads, and
screams (good naturedly) at his girls, the other girls, the umpire, in short, whatever it takes to win. I like
The game is closely fought, and it's a pleasure to not only watch the girls excel,
but also to observe the machinations of the head coaches.
After a close play, I hear Richie
extolling the umpire that she is giving all the breaks to "the black girl's team." Well, Joan
hears this, lumbers up to the two of them, and first informs her rival coach that if she is not to be addressed as Joan,
she would insist he refer to her as" the Reverend Doctor". Also her advice would be for Richie to buy a Rule Book
, and perhaps have his child "read it to him". Somewhat perplexed, he saunters away mumbling some obscure
Not long after this, I go over to ask Leslie the score.
Not wanting to get in the way, I ask her through the fence. Leslie informs me that it is Royals policy not
to tell their girls the score, as they are in it for fun, for character building, and for the co-operative lessons that they
can take with them for their whole lives. "The score is not important", she says to reinforce
her point. Being a football coach, I'm bewildered thinking, "Isn't the score everything?"
I was just about to politely say a modified version of that, when I feel Joan's presence. I go back to my seat in
the stands, and I'd be surprised if everyone didn't hear me yelping as I hurried over.
Well, that's Cambridge for ya!
I'd be a bit remiss not to let you know the outcome of
that Championship game. Being a coach myself, I felt I should have to respect the Reverend Doctor's wishes.
However, I will say that after the cheering was done, the speeches had been made, the trophy handed out and the
Gatorade had been poured, later that night I spotted a stockbroker, a city worker, an ardent feminist and a Doctor of
Theology all hoisting a few down at the local watering hole, The Shamrock.
Well, that's Cambridge
As for Richie, the loss was just the first in a string of bad luck that started with that
game. The night after that game, he was mugged and robbed of the Gold chain, his diamond ring, and his fine leather
shoes. And then the following week, he was summoned to his ancestral home in Sicily to take care of "family
Too bad, I could have used him in my campaign.