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My daughter complained about her nylons twisting.
“I feel sorry for you having to wear those things,” I said.
She rolled her eyes. “Dad, you don’t know the half of it.”
I smiled. I remembered back to the final high school football game of the regular season. As we ended practice, Coach called us together for a team meeting.
“Men, we are in for a tough game tomorrow. Adding to the challenge, the weather report predicts snow. I want you to dress warmly. You will want to wear a pair of your mother’s nylons. Just make sure it is one of her older pairs and not a new one. We don’t need any mothers mad at us again.”
I laughed, thinking he was teasing us about wearing nylons, but no one else even smiled. When coach finished, we went to the locker room. I asked some of the other guys if Coach was serious about the nylons.
Lenny was first to reply. “Of course he was. Nylons help keep the moisture away from your skin so you don’t freeze as much when all of your football gear gets wet. And he was serious about asking your mother for an older pair, too. Last time I took a pair of my mom’s new ones, and Coach got an earful.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because they were too baggy and torn for her to wear after that.”
I watched the others for signs that Lenny was trying to pull a fast one on me, but no one seemed the least bit interested in our conversation.
I still didn’t trust him. I could remember Lenny talking Sam into wearing a supporter over his head for a nose warmer at the previous year’s first track meet, claiming it would enhance his performance. I was sure he was taking advantage of my inexperience. However, I decided I would bring a pair and watch to see what everyone else did.
I considered every way I could think of to ask my mom for a pair, without sounding stupid. I considered going without, but the thought of being soaked by wet clothes didn’t thrill me. Finally, I just came out and asked her if she had an old pair of nylons that I could have.
“What do you need them for?” she asked.
“Oh, just something at school,” I replied.
She found an old pair that had a run in them. I told her I was sure it would work, though I really had no idea what I was doing.
Once at school, I made sure to keep them hidden. I decided to wait to pull them out until I made sure everyone else was really wearing some, too.
It finally came time to get ready for the game. I watched as Lenny whipped out a pair of nylons and started to wriggle his way into them. Lenny’s mom was small and slender. Lenny was about the size of a small, fat truck. Seeing the nylons stretch around him helped me see why his mom would have been mad when he used her new pair.
As others began putting some on, I took mine out of my locker, and self consciously started the process. The hair on my legs rolled and pinched as I tugged and pulled, and, when they were finally in place, they made my legs itch. It made me grateful I wasn’t a girl, having to wear them all of the time.
When Lenny turned to look at me, he said exactly what I was thinking about him. “Howard, you look like an absolute idiot.”
“After all of this we better win this game,” I grumbled back.
My daughter’s words brought me back to present. “Dad, you men should have to wear some just so you know what it’s like.
I smiled. “Yeah, I guess we should.”