It was in my junior year at Aptos High School that I had a chance encounter that set an unvoiced pact. I was playing soccer for physical education. My position was halfback. A fellow on the other team was my nemesis. I never knew this man, but I knew of him. I never liked him and somehow always felt that one day he and I would fight. This was that day. The ball came towards us and he clipped me on my back. He knew it was against the rules when he did it, as I knew it was against the rules when, not five minutes later, the ball came towards us and I clipped him. I hit him so hard he flipped. When he got up, we went for it.

We were duking it out and in my head I heard the coach tell us to stop fighting. I dropped my guard and got a nice punch in the nose. The blood was flowing freely when I held up my hands to stop the fight. I expected the coach to be right there, but he was a good 50 yards away. It was a surprise. I held my nose to check the blood flow as I walked off the field to the lockers. I cleaned myself up, noticed the clock said there was fifteen minutes left and I decided rather than shower and dress, I would return to the game, brave it out. I walked briskly to the goalie and told him to take my spot and I’d goalie for a bit.

The minute I returned to the game, not at all afraid, ready to go again, that’s when the unwritten rule went into effect: everyone realized Kermit was not one to back down.