It was a nice sunny late summer afternoon in the west side Detroit, MI. The time was the Summer of 2001. It was early September, and school was shortly about to start.
I was hanging out in the basement with some of my other friends. Two girls, and two guys that I’ve known several years before. The blonde-haired girl, named Amanda, was only several months older than me.
The red-haired girl was 8 and turning 9 in the fall. Her name was Ariana. And then there were the two other kids who were my gender. Both of their names were Nathan and Brad.
We were all playing video games and talking at my grandma’s house. It was my last day at my grandma’s house before I moved to my new address. I and my mom were about to move to an apartment complex.
We were taking turns on one of my friend’s Sony PlayStation 2. We were playing Madden NFL 2002 and competing against each other. Then after we got done playing, we just talked.
“Hey, we all heard you’re moving tomorrow.“, said Amanda. “Yep.“, I said. “We’re moving to a two-story apartment complex not far from where I live.” “I am gonna miss my old two-family flat though.”
“Yeah, I have a lot of good memories here of all of us hanging out.“, said, Ariana. “Yeah, it all started when we all met at a daycare center four years ago.“, said Nathan. “Good times.” “Hey, Weaver is your mom ok with us hanging out with you at your new apartment?“, said Brad. “We already discussed that, and she said it will not be a problem.”
“Awesome”, replied Brad. “Guys, it’s getting late in the day and I need to take my PS2 back home with me before dinner.“, said Nathan. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.“, I said.
“We can still do this again at my new place?” “You bet.“, said Nathan. “Sweet.“, I said.
“Yeah, and I gotta get home and study this new thing called multiplication before school starts.“, said Amanda. “So do I”, said Ariana. And as the two girls got up and started to leave, Ariana said, “Peace out you guys.” “Peace”, said the other three guys including myself.
“Yo Jamal, I think Amanda likes you.“, said Brad. “I agree with him, dude.“, said Nathan. “Why would you say that? You think we’ll eventually be husband and wife someday?“, I said. “That, and she’s been showing obvious signs that she’s into you.“, said Brad. “I don’t know. You might be right.“, I said.
“I thought you guys had somewhere to be? Instead of being interested in my love life.” “Holy crap! It slipped our minds. We gotta get home A.S.A.P.“, said Brad. “I’m right there with you my man.“, said Nathan. And as the two guys rushed out, they said, “Peace out bro.” I just held up the peace sign as they rushed out of the flat.
The next day, I and my mom were preparing to move out of our old address. Grandma was there as well. I was making sure I didn’t lose any precious belongings. And there were some U-Haul trucks outside.
“Jamal, it’s almost time to go. What are you still doing in your room?.“, my mom asked. Her name was Brenda, and she was 40 years of age. “I’m making sure I have all of my belongings with me before we leave.“, I replied. “Well, you need to hurry it up.“, my mom said. “Sure thing mom.“, I said.
And as I finished gathering all my belongings we went outside where my grandma was standing. She was 68 years of age. “I hope both of you will be able to still come and visit me.“, said, grandma. “Don’t worry, we will grandma.“, I replied. “Thanks for all that you’ve done for us mom.“, my mom said.
“You’re more than welcome.“, said, grandma. The first time we moved into the flat, I wasn’t even born yet. My grandparents moved there back in 1977 with my mom and her two older brothers who are also my uncles. Later on, in time, the two brothers eventually moved out and my grandfather passed back in ’88. And then my mother had me back in ’94, and that’s how I ended up living with my mother and grandmother for 7 years.
And as we got in the car after seeing my old residence one last time, my grandma was standing there. She said, “Call me and tell me about the new place.“, said, grandma. “We will”, said my mom. And then we drove away. It was only a five-minute drive from the old flat to the new apartment.
And then we made it to the apartment. As we walked inside our apartment door, my mom tried to unlock it. It wouldn’t open. Therefore, we knocked on the door of the apartment’s general manager.
“Hey, can I help you?“, said the apartment GM. “Yes, we’re your new tenants. Remember? You showed us around several months back before I decided to move me and my son here for good.“. “Oh, right. You need to get a new set of keys that unlock different areas of the apartment complex.” “You’ll have a key for the basement, washing machine, dryer, apartment number, etc.” “That’s great!“, said, my mom.
“Hold on for a quick second while I get them for you.” “Thanks a lot.“, said, my mom. “Not a problem.“, said the apartment GM.
And as we got the keys, the apartment GM said, “Enjoy your new place of residence.” “If you have any problems, questions, or concerns, you can always just come to me.” “Thanks. We appreciate it.“, said, my mom.
As my mom used the new set of keys that unlock different areas of access in the apartment complex, it finally opened. We entered our living space for good this time. We still had a lot of unpacking to do.
It was the first day of school, and my alarm clock woke me up at 7 am. The school was supposed to start at 8 am. Therefore, I did everything a kid usually does before school. Also, it was my first time getting on a school bus.
That was because my school was farther away since we moved.
On my way to the school bus, my mom told me to have a nice first day of school. Then I went on to the bus and drove away to start second grade.
At the end of the school day, I got off the bus. As I walked back to my new home, another kid walked off the bus after me. It turned out he lived in the same apartment complex as me.
“You live here too?“, the kid asked. “Yes, I do. I just moved here.“, I said. “You’re the guy my friends have been talking about.“, the kid said. “What friends?“, I said. “Amanda, Ariana, Nathan, and Brad”, the kid said.
“You know them?“, I asked. “I’ve known them as long as you have.“, the kid said. “Wow! I didn’t know that.“, I said.
“Yeah, they’ve been bragging about you ever since we first met them. My mom sent me to the same daycare center back when I was 3.“, the kid said. “My mom sent me to the same daycare as well.“, I said. “Well, I guess you already know my name because of my friends from daycare back in the day. What’s your name?“, I said. “My name is Steve. Nice to finally meet you for the first time.“, said Steve. “We should hang out sometime.“, I said.
“That’s a great idea. Maybe over the weekend? I have to spend a lot of time studying this new term in math called multiplication.“, said Steve. “That’s fine with me. I got a lot of studying to do on multiplication as well.“, I said. “Cool. See you then.“, said Steve. “Alright.“, I said. And then we went on our separate ways.
On the second day of school, I sat and ate lunch in the school lunchroom. Our school had two lunchrooms. One was blue, and the other one was brown.
Every year, they switched which lunchrooms we ate at for that year. Back in Kindergarten, we had the brown lunchroom, back in 1st grade we had the blue lunchroom, and back in 2nd grade, we had the brown lunchroom. In the brown lunchroom, I sat down and ate lunch with Amanda, Ariana, Nathan, and Brad.
My main friends from daycare who also went to the same elementary school as I sat and ate lunch with me. We talked about several different things from the time we finished eating until we were supposed to go back to class. One of the things we talked about was meeting one of our former daycare friends who I’ve never met before until now.
I started the conversation off by saying “Why haven’t you told me about Steve back from daycare?” “Wow! You guys finally met?“, Amanda asked. “Yes, we have.“, I said. “I’ve been wondering when you guys would finally meet.“, said Brad. “So have the rest of us.“, said, Ariana.
“We also talked in the apartment hallway later on that day, and said it would be a great idea to hang out at his place for the weekend.“, I said. “Cool! You two must be getting along.“, said Amanda. “Yeah, he’s a pretty cool dude.“, I said. “Can all of us come with you?“, said Nathan.
That really won’t be necessary guys. Maybe another time.“, I said. “That’s fine with us Jamal.“, said Amanda. “He also said he lives with his three brothers.“, I said. “We also know that as well.“, said Amanda.
“Yeah, he has one older brother and two younger brothers. And no sisters in the house.“, said Nathan. “Well, at least he has siblings. I’m still an only child, and waiting for my first sibling if it’s ever meant to be.“, I said. “Guys, it’s almost time to head back to class.“, said Brad. “Yeah, you’re right.“, I said.
“Can you tell us how your first time hanging out with Steve went?“, Amanda said. “As long as you tell me some of the memories you’ve had with Steve in daycare.“, I said. “They were kind of like the same memories as you. We all agree that you and Steve are a lot alike, and share a lot of similarities.“, said, Ariana.
And then the school bell suddenly rings. It was time to get back to class. We just all finished the conversation and headed back to our regularly scheduled classes.
The weekend finally came. And that Saturday afternoon, I walked up to Steve’s apartment door. His apartment door was #9 upstairs, and mines were #2 downstairs.
I knocked on the door, and Steve was right there to answer it. “Hey, Jamal. Come on in.“, Steve said. “Hey, Steve, who is this?“, said the oldest brother.
“This is my new friend. His name is Jamal. He went to the same daycare we use to go to before the start of Kindergarten.“, said Steve. “You went to the same daycare as well?“, I asked. “Sure did. The name is Kevin by the way. Nice to meet you.“, Kevin said. “Nice to meet you too.“, I said. “You must be like 10 or something.“, I said.
“Close. I’m 9. I’m turning 10 in May”, Kevin said. “And he’ll officially be a pre-teen once that happens.“, said Steve. Kevin was about two years older than both of us at that time.
“I would also like you to meet my second youngest brother. His name is Cody.“, Steve said as Cody walked into the living room. He was only five years of age at the time, so he was a young child. “Hi.“, Cody said. “Hello to you too.“, I said.
“He just started Kindergarten this year, and learning this new concept known as school.“, Steve said. “And there is my youngest brother. The little one of the family. Matthew.“, Steve said as Matthew walked into the living room. He was three years old at the time.
“My parents recently sent him off to the same daycare we use to go to. Say hi to my new friend Matthew.“, said Steve. “Hi.“, said, Matthew. “Hi.“, I said.
And then Steve’s mom walked by. “Hey mom, you wanna meet my new friend?“, Steve said. “Sure, why not? What’s his name?“, said Steve’s mom.
“His name is Jamal. We went to the same daycare together, but never met until shortly after the start of second grade.“, Steve said. “Interesting.“, said Steve’s mom. “Well, it’s nice to meet you, Jamal.“, said Steve’s mom. “It’s nice to meet you too Steve’s mom.“, I replied.
She was 33 years of age at the time. Finally, Steve’s dad walked into the room. He appeared to be a tall, athletic man at 6 “3” and about 195 lbs.
“Dad, I want you to meet my new friend. We went to the same daycare together, and didn’t meet until after second grade started.“, Steve said. “Nice to meet you, sir.“, I said. “Nice to meet you too young man.“, said Steve’s dad. “My dad is gonna be sitting here watching college football in here. Therefore, we can play Madden in my room.“, said Steve.
“Awesome. Let’s do it.“, I said.
“You got NCAA Football as well?“, I asked. “You bet I do.“, said Steve.
It was our very first game on Madden. Keep in mind that we were playing the latest Madden game that was out right now. That was Madden NFL 2002. We were playing on his PlayStation 2.
“Which team do you want?“, said Steve. “The Rams”, I said. “Alright. I’ll choose the Patriots.“, Steve said. Then Steve pulled out a quarter from his pocket.
“Whoever wins the coin toss two out of three gets to be the home team.“, Steve said. I ended up winning the series of coin tosses, so I got to play as the home team. Then the PlayStation 2 started up. ’00s kids reading this right now would likely be familiar with how the PS2 use to start up. Then Steve put in the game, and we started the match.
The first half was pretty close as we were playing. And then it was tied 14-14 at the half. “Hey, Steve, when did you first start playing Madden?“, I asked.
“I started playing when Madden NFL 01 first came out.“, Steve said. “Once I got last year’s game I became hooked ever since.“, Steve said. “And I first started watching football when I use to see my dad watching it.“, said Steve. “Afterwards, I became just as much of a football fan as him.“, Steve said. “That’s a cool story bro.“, I said.
“And we have pretty similar skills on Madden.“, I said. “I know.“, said Steve. And then we played the 2nd half of our game. It was still pretty close throughout the 3rd & 4th quarters. And then the game came down to a field goal with 3 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
It was about a 52-yard field goal I had to make. I attempted the field goal, and it went through. The game ended up going into overtime. It was still close throughout overtime. With 5 seconds left in overtime, the game came down to a game-winning field goal.
It was a 50-yard field goal I had to make. I ended up making it, prevented the game from being a tie, and won the game in overtime. “Good game.“, Steve said. “That was one of the closest games in Madden I’ve ever played.“, Steve said. “You wanna do a rematch?“, I said.
“You bet.“, said Steve. And then we started another game of Madden with the same teams from our last match. This one was also a close game throughout. And then I won again by scoring a late touchdown with ten seconds left in the game. Then we agreed to play one final game on Madden.
Another close game yet again. And then Steve couldn’t come back in the 4th quarter, so I won. “You beat me three times in a row? You must’ve played Madden before.“, said Steve. “I don’t play video games. I don’t have any games yet. However, it will happen soon.“, I said. “Well, you must watch football yourself then.“, Steve said.
“I don’t watch football, and I’m not a football fan. The only sport I follow is basketball, and that’s it.“, I said. “Then how are you already beating me at something I have more experience in?“, Steve asked. “Our daycare buddies from back in the day let me play Madden with them on their PS2.“, I said. “I knew you couldn’t be that good with zero Madden experience.“, Steve said. “Hey, maybe next weekend we can play any of your games at my place.“, I said.
“Yeah, that’s a great idea.“, Steve said. “Is next Saturday a good time?“, Steve asked. “Saturday is fine with me.“, I replied. “Awesome. Hey, I’m tired of playing Madden. How ’bout we play some NHL instead?“, Steve said. “That’s a great idea. I must warn you that I’ve played a lot of NHL with those guys as well.“, I said.
“Noted. I’ll consider the warning. I’m still beating you this time.“, Steve said. “You’re on.“, I said. Then we continued our Saturday playing on Steve’s PS2 together. And Steve’s dad spent hours watching college football in the living room. And then I had to head back home for dinner.
The next Saturday, Steve came over to my place. He just bought his PlayStation 2 with him along with some of his PS2 games. He knocked on my door.
I answered the door and said “Hey Steve. Come on in.“. He came in, and he had on his backpack from school to carry all the games he bought with him. And then my mother came into the living room.
“Steve, I’d like you to meet my mother. Mom this is the new friend that I discovered went to the same memorable daycare like me.“, I said. “Hey, Jamal’s mom.“, Steve said. “Hey, Jamal has told me a lot about you.“, my mom said. “It’s nice to meet you.“, Steve said. “It’s nice to meet you too.“, my mom said.
“You ready to start playing?“, said Steve. “Yeah, let’s do it.“, I said. Then the PlayStation 2 started up. We agreed to play Madden again. It was the same Madden game which was Madden NFL 2002.
Steve was looking to avenge the series of losses by beating me at my place. “Which team do you want?“, Steve said. “The Lions”, I said. “Alright. I’ll choose the Bears.“, Steve said. It was another close game throughout.
And throughout all the events of the game, it came down to one field goal that Steve had to make to send the game into overtime. You could feel the tension all around the game console. It was a 55-yard field goal. He put his controller. And he made it.
He sent the game into overtime. Steve won the coin toss and elected to receive. The overtime period was close just like regulation. It seemed like we were finally gonna have our first tie. It came down to just two seconds into overtime.
Steve had to make another crucial field goal to win the game. And the tension was even greater than before around the PS2. He had to make a 57-yard field goal. He had a 50/50 chance to make it. Yet again, he put his controller into.
This had the feeling of a Hail Mary in the Super Bowl. He finally was about to attempt the field goal until I called a timeout. He was about to attempt a pretty challenging field goal yet again. He tried his luck on the field goal meter. And he made it.
He finally avenged the series of losses at his place. After the victory, I said “Congratulations. Good game. You put up a heck of a fight.“. “So did you. That was some game. I still can’t wait for our first Madden tie.“, Steve said. “So you wanna play something else?“, I said. “Sure.“, Steve said.
It was time for school the following Monday. I and my friends from daycare met up on the playground during recess. We discussed several things until Steve came up to us.
“Hey, Steve.“, I said. “Hey Steve, it’s been forever since we saw you.“, Amanda said. “Hey.“, said Steve.
“I just came to say hello since I haven’t seen you guys in such a long time.“, Steve said. “Well, it’s nice to see you again Steve.“, said Nathan. “We’ve all finally met each other for the first time.“, I said. “Yeah, and we have pretty close skills in Madden.“, Steve said. “You’ve only beat me one time”, and I’ve beaten you multiple times.“, I said.
“He’s also beat me and Nathan in Madden before after we taught him how to play.“, Brad said. “I see.“, Steve said. “So Steve, what have you been up to lately.“, Ariana said. “Pretty much the same stuff.“, Steve said. “We should all get together and play Madden sometimes.“, said Amanda.
“Girls can’t play Madden.“, Steve said. “Yes, we can.“, said, Ariana. “Yeah, we’ve played against Jamal, Nathan, and Brad before. And have beat them before in Madden.“, Amanda said. “You’re lying.“, Steve said. “You believe that only because you never played any video games with us.“, Amanda said.
“That’s true, but I still say girls can’t play Madden.“, Steve said. “It’s a man’s game, and the controls are just too hard for any female to understand.“, Steve said. “Are you serious?“, asked Ariana. “I and Amanda can prove it by beating you by 60 points.“, Ariana said. “Yeah, let’s do it.“, Amanda said.
“No thanks. I’m not gonna waste my time beating a person who’s the weaker species when it comes to a Madden game.“, Steve said. Why don’t you prove it by playing both of us.“, said, Ariana. And then Steve finally said, “You’re on.“. “We can play at Jamal’s house. If he’s okay with it.“, Steve said. “It’s fine with me.“, I said.
“Then it’s official. We can play this Saturday.“, Amanda said. “You’re both on.“, said Steve. And then it was settled. It was a battle of the sexes on Madden at my house. And then recess had expired, and it was time to resume class.
It was Saturday once again. We all were at my place to watch which sex among us deserved bragging rights on Madden. We had Steve’s PlayStation 2, and Madden game. The game was the latest Madden game which was Madden NFL 2002.
“Are you ready for this but kicking?“, said Steve. “Which female should face Steve?“, said Brad. “We’ll do a coin toss.“, said Steve. “Why don’t we just do ‘rock, paper, scissors’?“, said Amanda. “That makes much more sense.“, said, Ariana.
“Fine with me. Whoever wins is still gonna lose to the opposite gender.“, said Steve. “In your dreams.“, said, Ariana. Amanda and Ariana started the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” match. Amanda drew paper, and Ariana drew rock. “Paper covers rock, so I get to play Steve.“, said Amanda.
“Before we start, is there any other male here that thinks that the male sex is naturally better than the female sex in Madden.“, said, Ariana. “I think your sex doesn’t define how good of a Madden player you are.“, I said. “I agree with Jamal.“, said Nathan. “Why do you think guys are better at Madden than girls are?“, said Brad. “Because of the simple fact that there are alternative female leagues to three of the four major sports.“, said Steve.
“Think about it. There’s the WNBA, softball, and some women’s hockey league I forget the name of. There is no football women’s league.“, Steve said. “They’ve still beat us at Madden before. And we’ve beat them before.“, said Nathan. “You know I don’t believe that right?“, said Steve.
“Maybe there is a women’s football league, and you haven’t done enough research”, said Ariana. “Whatever, let’s start the game.“, said Steve. The PlayStation 2 started up once again. And the game was put in. “Which team?“, said Steve.
“The Patriots.“, said Amanda. “I’ll go as the Giants.“, said Steve. The game finally started. It was scoreless for a while at first. And then shortly after the 2nd quarter started, Amanda made a 50-yard field goal.
It was 3-0 Amanda. “You still think females can’t play football and Madden.“, said Amanda. “Yes, I do.“, said Steve. “We’ll see about that.“, said Ariana while spectating with the rest of us.
And then the game continued. It was still the 2nd quarter. Later on, in the 2nd quarter, Amanda had the chance to make a second field goal from 40 yards away. She ended up making the field goal. And it was now 6-0 in the game.
“So all you females can do is kick field goals?“, said Steve. “We can score touchdowns too.“, said Amanda. “No, you can’t.“, said Steve. “We’ll see about that.“, said Amanda. And the game continued.
It was in the 2-minute warning, and Amanda had a chance to make a third field goal in the 1st half. It was a 55-yard field goal, and she would be up by 2 scores if she makes it. And she made the field goal. Amanda was up 9-0.
“Are you ready to quit?“, said Amanda. “I never quit. Two scores are not gonna keep me from whooping you in the 2nd half.“, said Steve. “How are you gonna whoop me with zero points?“, said Amanda. Steve tried to score points before halftime but had no luck. And then it was the end of the 1st half.
The 2nd half started. It was the 3rd quarter, and Amanda had to make another field goal. From 52 yards, she made her fourth field goal of the game. The score was 12-0.
The 3rd quarter continued, and Amanda had to attempt yet another field goal. This was her fifth field goal attempt of the game. And as you can imagine, she made her fifth field goal of the game.
“You should probably quit now. You’re trash against me.“, said Amanda. “How about less talking and more playing guys?“, said Nathan. The score was now 15-0. And it was the start of the 4th quarter. Steve still had zero points.
“I smell a shutout.“, said Amanda. Steve had the ball, and he had to go to different plays in his playbook to search for answers to the zero on the scoreboard. And then there was this one running play when one of Steve’s running backs broke loose to score a touchdown 75 yards away from the goal line. The score was now 15-6 with Steve trailing. Now all he had to do was make the extra point.
And he made it. The score was now 15-7 with Amanda in the lead. “I told you guys to score touchdowns.“, said Steve. “I’ve scored touchdowns in Madden before.“, said Amanda. Then Steve made Amanda punt the ball, and Steve got the ball back again.
Steve did the best he could to get to the red zone. And then all it took was a quarterback sneak to score his second touchdown. The score was now 15-13 with Steve trailing. Steve had to convert a 2-point conversion to tie the game since he was down by 2 points. And he made the 2-point conversion.
Then the game was tied at 15. “So much for those five field goals.“, said Steve. It was now the 2-minute warning.
Amanda and Steve did the best they could in the last couple of minutes to get the next points and win the game. And then the game went into overtime. Nobody scored in the overtime period. And the game ended up a tie. The match was a total draw between the male and female.
“So I guess it’s settled. Gender doesn’t matter in Madden.“, said Brad. “Well, good game Amanda. I guess females can play Madden after all.“, said Steve. “I think we’ve all learned that females can hang with males in most things.“, said, Ariana. “You two have pretty close Madden skills like Steve and me.“, I said. “Yeah, I agree.“, said Steve.
Later on, most of us decided to head home. “Well, that was fun. You guys wanna play something else between the three of us.“, said Amanda. “Sure.“, said Steve.
“We can play NHL, and take turns playing.“, I said. “Awesome.“, said Amanda. And we enjoyed the rest of our Saturday playing NHL.