22 DECEMBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® The Un-Comfort Zone II by Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. Mr. Irresistible Tony and I were looking at our high school yearbook and commenting on which girls we thought were cute, when I wistfully exclaimed, “I sure wish I knew how to talk to girls.” I was 14 years old and wanted to date, but I was too shy to engage in conversation with any girl to whom I was attracted. Tony had a solution - football. He said girls always talk to guys on the team. It was all the motivation I needed. So, without ever having played the game, without even knowing the rules, I joined the junior varsity football team. I immediately found I hated it. Running wind sprints, in full pads, every day in the hot August sun, lifting weights, and working out, but the worst part was tackling. I was six feet, two inches tall and weighed 150 pounds; I was a skinny bag of bones with no cushion and getting my body slammed to the ground really hurt. And, I was getting bruised for nothing; the girls were not talking to me. What Tony hadn’t realized, when he offered his advice, was the girls only talked to the football stars - not the average linemen. I wanted to quit in the worst way, but it would’ve meant losing face and getting chastised publicly by my teammates (and possibly the entire school - I’d been bullied relentlessly in elementary school and was terrified of it happening again), so I stuck it out, but not before wishing - repeatedly - that there was some honorable way out. Then one day, because of my height, I was asked to scrimmage on the defensive line with the varsity team. “Ten, twenty-two, seventeen hut!” The quarterback yelled. I burst through the line and lunged forward to tackle him. I was inches from grabbing him, when suddenly I was hit so hard it lifted me in the air. I crashed to the ground face first, and when I tried to stand, I felt an explosion of pain that made me black out. Seconds later, I came to, but my leg would not move. When I looked down, it was bent in the wrong place, and I could see the bone pushing against my skin. Be careful what you wish for . . . I spent the next two weeks in the hospital. I had two surgeries, three screws put into my bone, and a cast on my leg for more than five months. Adding insult to injury, walking on crutches still didn’t get the girls’ attention or sympathy! A few months later, I was called to the counselor’s office. He pointed to my cast and told me I couldn’t take physical education the next quarter and my only choice was home economics [now known as consumer sciences]. “NO!” I cried out. “Don’t worry,” he said, “this isn't the sewing or diaper changing class it’s the cooking class.” I looked at him skeptically, and asked, “I’ll get to cook real food and actually eat it?” He assured me I would. When the class started a few weeks later, I found I was the only boy in a room with 29 girls. We were divided into teams of six and worked in Wilson Cont’d on page 24.