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  • Although fourteen year old boys specialize in the exhibition of bravado they are more routinely shadowed by fear. Or in this case, terror. My son's junior varsity Bishop O'Dowd lacrosse team had days before fallen to 0-6, trounced 14-2 by Davis High. Could things get worse? How could they not? Berkeley, their next opponent, had beaten Davis, almost as badly as Davis had just beaten O'Dowd. The boys all knew the transitive law of equality and inequality:

    A (Berkeley) > B (Davis), and
    B (Davis) is > C (O'Dowd), therefore
    A (Berkeley) must be > C (O'Dowd).

    Ahhh, but had those games been played under equal conditions? Equally awful conditions.

    The rain was driving so hard I lingered at work long enough to miss the first quarter. When I got to Berkeley I turned off the engine and watched the second quarter through the thump-thud, thump-thud of my windshield wipers. We scored. And scored again. Guilt and hope in equal measure drove me from my soft and dry endzone seat. I was soaked by the time I reached the stands, where I took shelter in the damp press box. Its windows had no wipers, but I could make out the scoreboard: 2-1, our lead. 2-2. Then, darn it - 3-2. We rallied to tie at 3, but in the end suffered a 6-3 loss to a superior team. It was unquestionably a moral and morale victory.

    I walked down the bleachers and over the soggy field towards the cars. Graham, one of our 14-year olds was nearly jubilant, oblivious, apparently at both what a truly wet and awful day we adults thought it was, and at the seemingly dismal fact that his team had just fallen to 0 and 7. "Dad, it was almost just like I told you." At 6'3" he looked slightly down on his pops, yet his still-high voice with its still-cheerful-little-boy wonder looked up to the elder as he said, "paper almost beat rock!"
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