Some people believe you can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. I believe you can tell more about a person by the t-shirts they have worn. This is the story of my life, as told by the t-shirts I have worn.
Originally posted as T-Shirt of the Week: WEEK 9 (August 9, 2007)
Journey with me, if you will, back to 1984. I was a sophomore at Madison High School in Portland, Oregon, where Van Halen’s aptly named 1984 was one of the most popular albums and only a handful of my fellow students understood the significance of the year as it related to George Orwell. Ronald Reagan was getting ready to win his second term, beating out former vice president Walter Mondale, who made history by having a woman as his running mate. And while all of this was going on, I was getting ready to turn 16, and trying to figure out how to score with chicks.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that when it comes to the pursuit of poontang, I have come up with some pretty crazy ideas. But it was during my sophomore year that I came up with one of the most ridiculous. Don’t ask me exactly how the idea formed, because it was one of those things that just appeared in mind one afternoon, as if by magic. All I know was that I was sitting around—probably thinking about girls or comic books, since that was all I ever thought about—and it suddenly dawned on me that if I wanted to be around the hottest girls at my school, I would need to be on the volleyball team.
The two things to keep in mind are that at Madison High School all of the hot chicks were, in fact, on the volleyball team, and that there was no boy’s team. Well, I wasn’t about to let that stop me. I came up with some bullshit story about how it had always been my dream to play volleyball. I told this story to everyone, and went on to say that if I wasn’t allowed to try out for the team, I would sue the school and the district for sexual discrimination (keep in mind I was only 15 at the time—yet still a genius). Finally, the head coach comes to me and says, “Look, I respect that you really want to play volleyball, but it isn’t going to happen. Trust me, if I was allowed to let a boy on the team, you wouldn’t even be my first choice. If you really love volleyball that much, why don’t you manage the team.” While the coach’s words about me not being his first choice stung a bit, it didn’t faze me that much, because in reality I didn’t really want to play. I just wanted to be around girls.
At the beginning of my junior year, in the fall of 1984, I started out as the manager of the varsity girls’ volleyball team. I also helped out with the junior varsity and freshman girls’ teams, and eventually became something of an assistant coach. It was hard work—learning all the rules of volleyball, figuring out how to keep stats, and helping out during drills—but I had accomplished my goal, I was surrounded by the hottest chicks in school. At first, a lot of the guys at school thought I was gay. “What’re you, some kind of faggot?” was a question I was asked all the time.
I would always respond the same way, “How does my being surrounded by hot chicks all the time make me a faggot? I’m not the one showering with other men like all of you football players.” This left every guy who confronted me flummoxed. But by the end of that season, a small group of other guys had figured out what I was up to, and tried to get in on the action. They would hang out at the games and practices, but their actions seemed even more transparent than mine, since none of them were so fully committed as to help maintain stats or act as official score keeper.
I did so well with my job as manager that I was actually made an official member of the team. This is one of two shirts given to me as the only male member of the girls’ volleyball team. I’m not sure if this was the shirt I got during my junior year, or if this was my team shirt from when I returned my senior year.
It was kind of funny, because I never expected that my whole ploy to get some ass would go so far that they would make me a member of the team, or that managing the team would become such a major part of my high school career. But it was all pretty fun. As we traveled all over the city playing other schools, I became known around town as “that guy who hangs out with the Madison volleyball team.”
Honestly, I never “scored” with any of the girls, in that I never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls on the team. At the same time, I never did anything to dissuade the rumors that began to fly about me and the girls. Someone would ask me if I had screwed a certain girl, and I would always respond, “None of your fucking business.” There was, however, one incident on the back of the bus that had a profound impact on me. Without getting into any of the horny details, for some reason the coach wasn’t on the bus with us after the team played this one weekend tournament, which left me as the only person on the bus with a penis. There was an encounter with one girl in particular, which was encouraged by the other girls, which left a lasting impression on me.
My experience with the volleyball team taught me valuable lessons about the importance of teamwork. It also gave me profound and often terrifying insight into how the female mind works. It was a great time, and I still have the t-shirt to remind me of it all.