An American Experience by Nigel
Hi guys, here's a little tale for you 100% from my imagination but inspired by friends on both sides of the Atlantic. I'd be pleased to hear from you and to learn what you think. Thanks.....Nigel
No matter how long I live I will never be able to call the game soccer. The English invented it and called it football, we exported it to the world and the world was perfectly happy to cal it FOOTBALL. So why is it when the game found its way to the United States of America it had to be called soccer ? America may have its own game, the rules and objectives of which are an enigma, which it likes to call football but the originators of that game should have come up with something different allowing football to be football and NOT soccer !
Have you ever thought how strange it is that Americans speak English yet manage to turn it into a foreign language ? They call the footpath the sidewalk, they put gas in their cars when they really mean petrol. The wire baskets on wheels you push round supermarkets are trolleys yet Americans insist on calling them carts. A mobile phone is a mobile phone yet in America it becomes a cell phone, the list goes on and on and on. Oh yes there is one more thing I have to mention: a paddle is an oar used to propel a canoe through the water - at least that was what I thought it was !
Now please do not get me wrong, inspite of our language differences I like America, no more than that I love America. I love the country, I love the people and love the year I spent living there. If I were allowed to call it football and not soccer I would not mind being an American.
As a kid we I had been on family holidays to Disneyland - note holidays and not vacations - and I was always sorry when it was time to return to England and school. I did not do well at school and would have willingly left at sixteen had my father not insisted I stay into the sixth form to study A levels. Those extra two years were a waste of my time so imagine how happy I was when the winter turned into spring and my date for finally leaving drew ever closer. Then my father dropped the bombshell that I was going to America for a year as a student in the senior year of a Texas high school.
I need here to explain that my father is the kind of person you do not argue with, when he gets an idea into his head that idea quickly turns into reality and god help anyone who gets in his way. He is a successful businessman owning a nationwide chain of sports shops, a business he founded after retiring from being a professional football player. Oh yes my dad was a footballer playing for Aston Villa and England, if I were to tell you his name no doubt you would have heard of him. While I like the game and played for a variety of youth teams since I was eight years old I was never any where near as good as he was, it is hard being the son of a living legend.
It was always assumed that when I left school I would go into the family business, I did not want to go to university and my dad was never slow to tell me he was educated at the university of life.
"I was cleaning the boots of the professionals," he would say, "as an apprentice when I was sixteen and by eighteen I had my own place in the first team."
Of course things are different now, gone are the apprentice players to be replaced by football academies nurturing the next generation of stars.
"An extra year at school won't do you any harm," my father explained. "An American experience will make a man of you. I have arranged for you to be part of the school's football team and I mean football English style or soccer as they insist on calling it. Show them how the game should be played."
The prospect of a year in America was fantastic but going back to school ? Bugger that ! But it no use at all protesting.
James Kingsley High School is massif, gigantic, much bigger than the school I went to in England. It has more than three thousand pupils, the Americans call them students. I swear that within days of my arrival each and every one of them made me welcome. I knew I was going to love my American experience even if it did mean I was going to be at school for another year.
Schools in England are just a system one has to pass through before being able to go out into the world and earn a living. Some are better than others but invariably they are a form of purgatory to be endured throughout childhood and adolescence. Not so in America. First of all every aspect of the school is so well structured and organised, everyone has a part within that structure and everyone is made to believe their part is all important. School requires a minimum of 101% commitment and everyone gives well above the minimum. I wish my father had sent me to James Kingsley High School years before he did.
The school ran many different sports teams all of which were central to school life. The soccer team was a top team in the school's sports hierarchy and it appears my fame, or rather my father's fame, had gone before me. The team was managed by a Mr Ford, the Americans call their team managers coaches - in English a coach is, of course, a bus with posh seats - and the word coach is used as a title so Mr Ford was never called Mr Ford but always Coach Ford. A team coach is a very important person in the school, respected and obeyed without question. Nobody ever had much respect at all for teachers when I was at school, particularly sports teachers who were regarded as less intelligent than those who took subjects like English and Maths. (Note Americans insist on calling Maths Math - don't ask me why.)
Texas is a vast state covering a land area of more than quarter of a million square miles, students at James Kinglsey High School come from all over the state, particularly in the senior year where coaches seek out promising players from many miles away. Four of my team mates were from out of town and boarded along with myself in what was called a frat house. Coach Ford was in charge of the frat house and lived on the premises running it with the same discipline as he did the team. The four team players: Bobby, Stuart, Gene and Sam, who boarded became my close friends, we did everything together and life was great even if at the age of nineteen I was still at school.
I hope you do not think that I have been too critical of American's lack of understanding with regard to the English Language after all it's no big deal but there is one thing about life they have totally screwed up ! An American lad can not buy alcohol or consume alcohol until he is twenty-one years old. In England the law allows this at eighteen but most kids have come to know the taste many years earlier. I was going into pubs, or bars for the benefit of my American friends, since my seventeenth birthday - it was hard during my year at James Kingsley High to become tee-total. Well I didn't, of course I didn't and while it is as near to impossible as it can be for an American kid to buy alcohol without identification to show he is aged twenty-one there are ways round this problem. Bobby had a cousin who was twenty-five and worked in a liquor store, (In English that is an off license !) for a fee he would purchase once a week our needs and we kept the stash in a secret place well away from Coach Ford. There was something fun about secretly drinking at two or three in the morning when our adult supervisor was fast asleep. But as my American experience was about to tell me Coach Ford was a light sleeper.
This particular drinking session took place six months after I joined James Kingsley High School, I could not tell you how many times before we had boozed the night away but on this occasion we got just a little too merry and made just a little too much noise.
"What the hell's going on in here ?" Coach Ford burst through the door without knocking.
We could not possibly hide any evidence even if our brains had not been numbed by alcohol and were alert enough to try.
"Sorry Coach did we wake you ?"
Coach Ford was no religious fundamentalist but he gave we five a sermon on the evils of drink any bible basher would have been proud of. We would have to be more careful next time we had a drinking session. I waited for the tirade of anger to wear itself out and for Coach Ford to return to his private area of the frat house but reflecting back now I realise the other four knew there was a little more to things than that.
"Not only have you five abused my trust," Coach Ford was saying, "not only have you let down the school and the team but you have been breaking the law."
I tried to protest my age and explain that in England the purchase and drinking of alcohol was not illegal and was considered a perfectly normal thing for a group like ours to do. That was a mistake.
"But we are not in England," Coach Ford roared, "not in England where liberal ideas have destroyed much of the social fabric belonging to a once great nation. We are in the United States where we do things differently. You may not understand how we here deal with misdemeanors such as this but your friends will no doubt tell you. I'll leave them to do just that while I go and fetch the necessary."
"What's he talking about ?" I said when he had gone. "What does he mean by the necessary ?"
"He's going to paddle us," Bobby explained.
"Hey I aint been paddled since tenth grade," Stuart giggled, "I've almost forgotten what it's like."
"It hurts," Gene said.
"Hang on," I interrupted. "What's paddling ?"
My friends were quick to explain. To begin with I thought they were having me on but when Coach Ford returned holding a wooden paddle in his hand just as the lads had described it to me I knew they were not. There was a faint haze of alcohol clouding my mind but even so this situation was surreal, perhaps I was dreaming. I had better make sure, I began to protest.
"Corporal punishment was abandoned decades ago in my country, besides I am nineteen, you can't do this to me."
"It's only a wuppin," Bobby said, "no big deal really."
"No way !" I continued my protest. "Besides you guys are all eighteen."
Sam shrugged his shoulders, the others said nothing.
"I am going to paddle the arses of the four American students," Coach Ford said, "you have two choices: you can take a spanking the same as them or you can pack your gear and I'll drive you personally myself to the airport first thing in the morning."
Shit what choice did I have ? To have my backside spanked by Coach Ford, no matter how humiliating it may be no matter how much it may hurt this would be infinitely more acceptable than facing my father if I were sent home in disgrace.
"What's it to be ?"
"I don't have any choice do I ?"
"Take your shirts off and line up against the wall."
What did we have to take our shirts off for ? We were wearing an assortment of tee-shirts, vest and sports shirts. Our lower quarters were covered by shorts which I guessed would not offer a lot of protection from Coach Ford's anger.
I took my place in the centre of the line with Stuart to my left and Gene to my right. On the outer ends of the line were Bobby on he far left and Sam on the far right. Coach Ford moved down the line moving each one of us to a position that suited him best, adjusting how far we were away from each other and how far from the wall.
"Place your hands against the wall and brace yourselves," Coach Ford ordered. "Three each I think."
Fucking hell, what was going on ? But still I did as I was told. I glanced left to Stuart and then to Gene on my right. Both smiled. What happened next I did not expect, Coach Ford went down the line pulling each of our shorts down to our knees and exposing five bare arses. I sensed Coach Ford move to the far right and stand behind Sam. The latest episode of my American experience was about to start. I looked along the line but could not see him properly beyond Gene.
Whack ! I heard the almighty crack as the wooden paddle struck across Sam's backside. God I bet that hurt. Before I could fully consider the degree of pain my friend must be experiencing there came the sound of a second stroke. It was louder than the first. Shit this was going to happen to me in a moment's time. Whack ! Number three and the ordeal for Sam at least was over.
I looked again to Gene on my right and mouthed the words Good Luck. He winked an eye. Coach Ford was standing directly behind me as he positioned himself to paddle Gene, I could not see him with my eyes but sensed every movement. I felt the air move as he lifted his arm the swung the paddle down. Whack ! Gene flinched and I looked at him again. He smiled. Whack ! Coach Ford was delivering the strokes much more quickly to Gene than he did to Sam, that meant my turn was coming very soon. Whack ! Three. Gene had received his three, now it was my turn.
I shut my eyes and prayed. I sensed Coach Ford move to my left, any moment now. I did not feel any movement of air behind me, perhaps I was blotting things out of my mind but I was unable to blot out the paddle as it whacked its first blow into my behind. I felt the stinging blow before I heard the sound and the pain that surged through me made the sound much quieter than it had been when Sam and Gene had received their spanking. It's only a wupping Bobby had said. Only ? Whack ! Bloody hell that was right where the first one had landed. Only a wupping ? Only ! Whack ! Christ, number three hurt more than the first two put together ! What ever did my backside look like ?
I opened my eyes, at least my wupping was over. Now it was Stuart's turn. Before I could look at Stuart I heard the crack of the paddle on his behind. The volume of the crack had now resumed its previous level but was secondary to the fire my backside was experiencing. My spanking was over but the pain was still surging across my buttocks. Whack ! That was Stuart's second. I looked at him but his face was squarely facing the wall.
"Good luck my friend," I whispered. "Good luck."
Only a wupping Bobby had said, now he was taking his wupping. Whack ! The pain was every bit as fierce, my backside was yet to cool down but I was thinking of loads of questions I wanted to ask the other lads. This was like nothing ever to happen in schools back home, at least not for years and years and years. I was curious. Whack ! That was it all over.
"Pull your shorts up," a voice said from behind me.
I reached down and covered up my bruised behind.
"Turn round all of you."
As we turned round each one of us looked at the others. Thoughts were being silently transmitted between us and as soon as Coach Ford had gone these thoughts would no doubt be turned into words. Coach Ford was swinging the paddle by his side, the simple piece of wood that had just whacked five backsides each with three swats. Now that it was over it didn't seem quite so bad, don't get me wrong my backside was still stinging like hell, but it had been an experience.
"Right," Coach Ford said, "that's that then. I'll leave you to compare notes, just don't make too much noise about it. If you disturb me again I will not be happy. Do I make myself clear ?"
And then he was gone.
"Well," I said.
The others were laughing. How could you laugh about having your arse spanked.
"Time to inspect the damage," Bobby said. And with that the four had their shorts off and were standing bollock naked.
"Come on get yours off as well, we need to see your arse."
Did I have any choice ?
Coach Ford's paddle had left a deep red patch on each of our buttocks. We debated as to who had the best form of bruising and the unanimous opinion was that I had. "Bet you don't get that in no English school."
"Too right you don't." I smiled then said, "Hey he's left the booze behind, he didn't confiscate it."
"Oh no he wouldn't," Stuart explained. "We've been punished now so we can drink it."
"Are you sure ?"
"But there's just one thing," Gene said.
The others nodded.
"Kind of a frat house ritual."
"What's that ?"
"If you've been wupped you have to wank."
I do hope you found my little take fun - I'd love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org - particularly from my American friends who have experienced CP US style first hand. All the best.... Nigel