Branded a cheater

In my last post, I described a week in my life at Arabi Park Middle which was dominated by two hurricanes, one (Florence) which affected New Orleans but only blew some leaves and limbs off trees, and another (Gilbert) which did not, but did a lot more damage and took a lot of lives.

The Friday night of hurricane week, as Gilbert was heading towards Mexico, Tom Browning pitched a perfect game for the Cincinnati Reds against the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, for the moment pushing Orel Hershiser’s quest to break Don Drysdale’s record for consecutive scoreless innings to the back burner.

The next day, LSU went to Knoxville and blasted Tennessee 34-9, the first time the Bayou Bengals had ever won at Neyland Stadium. The Volunteers would lose their first six games of the 1988 season before winning their last five, which provided the momentum they needed to win a share of the Southeastern Conference title in 1989. LSU would go on to share the 1988 SEC title with Auburn, but the Bayou Bengals would not enjoy another winning season until 1995.

Later that Saturday, reigning national champion Miami rallied from a 16-point deficit to stun Michigan at the “Big House” in Ann Arbor, 31-30. The Hurricanes came within a failed two-point conversion at Notre Dame from repeating as champion. The Fighting Irish would go on to win it all, clubbing West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 12-0.

On Sunday, the Saints had a tougher than expected time in Detroit, but rallied for a 22-14 victory.

Unfortunately, I forgot to study for a Monday morning test during the weekend of sports.

I attempted to cram before going to school, but it was to no avail. When the tests were passed out, I totally panicked. I hated reading class, because I had no earthly idea how to comprehend short stories. I disliked literature in the seventh grade, and I continued to loathe it throughout high school and college.

The panic turned to stupidity.

I admit I cheated. I tried to slip a look at my textbook, but I got caught red-handed. I was deathly afraid of getting an F, but now I was certain I was going to fail. Ms. Jones took the test, then marched me down to the office, where I had to call my mother and deliver the bad news. My classmates regarded me as a black sheep for a few days, as well they should have.

My parents were very unhappy to say the least. They would not let me watch sports on TV during weeknights for a month, which meant I had to miss four Monday Night Football games, including one involving the Saints and Cowboys, I also did not get to watch the Major League Baseball League Championship Series, as well as much of the Summer Olympics, although in hindsight, not getting to watch the Olympics wasn’t so bad. The good news was in 1988 there were no weeknight college football games, no Sunday night NFL games until later in the season, or I really would have missed out. Also, the NBA would not begin until late October, and the NHL was no longer on TV since ESPN had lost the rights to SportsChannel America, which wasn’t available on any cable system in Louisiana.

It could have been much worse. I could have been held without sports on the weekends, too. I could have flunked the quarter, and Ms. Jones would have had every right to do so. In the end, I got a C for the quarter, my lowest grade at Arabi Park, save for a couple of Ds I received in conduct.

It was a hard lesson to learn. I would flunk more than my fair share of tests in high school and college, but I knew better than to cheat.

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on August 28, 2014, in Personal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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