In a bus:
I happened to find a seat next to two young boys, who looked like they could be in Class III; and who still had some innocence maybe, for they were looking out through the window, and enthusiastically pointing out places they were familiar with. Innocence is difficult to find in kids I think: they seem to know everything most of the time anyway, and there is nothing with which you can make them look at you in wide eyed wonder; I had to learn about Snapchat from someone many many years younger than me (the horror).
In the bus:
These boys could not stop talking about football, I gathered that they were on their way to football coaching, and they seemed to be consumed by the game. A group of girls, who look to be in middle school, gets into the bus. They smell of sweat and failure, they are wearing sports jerseys with their names printed on the back, and they are discussing how their opponents had several older girls playing (not fair!!!!!!). The boys are piqued. They want to find out what sport it is that these girls have played. Finally, after much craning and squirming (now I am curious too), we spot HANDBALL on their jersey.
Boy 1 is audibly relieved. He states dismissively: Oh! It is handball da. It cannot be football of course.
Boy 1 and Boy 2 now laugh.
I join the conversation at this point. I ask them: Why can’t it be football?
Boy 1 answers with an incredulous look in place: Girls don’t play football!!!?!?!?!?!? Boy 2 nods sagely.
It is my turn again, I persist for some reason. “Why do you say that?”
Boy 1 responds with the air of someone used to being talkative and witty. “It is tough. You have to keep running.” And then he adds: If they really played, it would have been shown on TV.
I did not expect that. I am not sure what to say, I am somewhat worried the kids may be mean to me.
This time I ask him: So you are saying a sport is played only if it is shown on TV?
Now he is a little confused. He takes on an aggressive stance. “Okay tell me some girl who plays football.”
I invent a younger sister who plays football for her college. (In all honesty though, I have a cousin who plays football for her company, who is my age).
Boy 1 is suspicious. But Boy 2 is taken up by this. “APPDIYA?????” (REALLY?????)
I am more confident this time. I say “Yes, she has been playing for few years now”.
Boy 1 still looks dubious. With some authority, he investigates into the issue. “Fine. If she plays, tell me what does she play as?”
Oh! This is an interrogation. Really, kids are just tiny adults I think.
“Striker”, I declare.
Hah! Having a brother who is football-crazy is convenient. I have learnt useful information merely through osmosis.
Now both Boy 1 & 2 are suitably impressed. Maybe I have surpassed their expectation by being aware of some terminology.
Boy 1 and Boy 2 (slowly): Oh…. So they really play huh?
Me (triumphantly): Yes.
And because I have to conclude this the proper way, I tell them: Girls can play anything they want to.