Chapter 4

The Legally Blind Korean

ON FRIENDSHIP

Friends Happen

A Champion does not need to be popular, but a Champion should

never be lonely. As an aspiring Champion, you need someone to

challenge you, to encourage you as you travel down the Path. Someone

to lift you when you are weak, to keep you grounded when you are

strong. As you keep yourself attuned to your environment, remain

attuned to those around you as well. Be on the lookout for Honor,

Loyalty, and Respect. A friend is someone who will NEVER betray

those three things. Without those three, there is nothing.

THE CHAMPION’S GUIDEBOOK

So I might have neglected to point out that Greg and I don’t only hang out with

44

each other all the time. It’s just that Greg and I are the only Champions among us, so

everyone else gets left out during all the Champion talk. We do have other friends; there

are five of us that share our house. And actually, even though the others aren’t official

Champions, they all possess traits of the Champion. In fact, when we got home from

Hassan’s, we found Keith thoroughly engrossed in living The Dream.

More specifically, Keith was in the living room, eating a cookie and playing

Tecmo Bowl*, wearing his old man sweater with his head a couple inches from the TV. I

don’t really need to explain the cookie and the Tecmo Bowl. Keith’s old man sweater

was about five sizes too big for his little Korean frame, and when he wore it, the rest of

the world knew that he was going nowhere. Keith’s head was a couple inches from the

TV because he is legally blind. Not white cane and seeing eye dog blind, just unable to

drive or play catch or watch TV from the couch blind. When I first met him, I thought

that he just had a lazy eye, because he would always focus his gaze a little to the left of

whomever he was speaking to. Actually, that was about the only way you could tell that

anything was different about him. Well, his taste in girls could be pretty shaky, but no

way was being legally blind a viable excuse.

“Hey, Kov. Hey, Greg.” Keith didn’t divert his attention from the game when we

walked in. He did finish his cookie.

“What’s up, dude,” said Greg.

“What’s the score?” I asked.

“Well,” Keith looked really proud of himself. “I decided to beat Buffalo by only

45

throwing hundred-yard passes. You know, when you run back into your own end zone

and—“

“I know, Keith.” I did know. I invented the hundred-yard pass offense for

godssakes.

“Anyway,” Keith continued, “I’m winning fifty-nine to ten.”

“Fifty-nine?” Greg asked. “Did you kick a fucking field goal?” Keith looked

embarrassed.

“It was fourth down!” he yelled.

“Pussy,” said Greg and I.

“Fuck off,” said Keith.

“Field goal kicking pussy,” we said.

“Fourth down.”

“Pussy.”

“Well,” Keith was beaten. “It was a seventy two yard field goal.”

“Doesn’t matter, Keith,” said Greg. “You probably punt on fourth down too.”

“What of it?”

“Look, Keith. There are two types of people in this world.”

“Enlighten me.” Keith put his controller down and looked in Greg’s general

direction.

“It’s simple, Keith.” Greg was back in speech mode. I had to smile; I told you

Championism was always there. “There are people who punt on fourth down in Tecmo

46

Bowl, and there are those who don’t.”

“And you don’t, huh?”

“Are you kidding me?” Greg was indignant. “First off, I ain’t no fucking pussy.”

Keith looked at the ground, I think. Greg continued, “and most important, if you can’t go

for it on fourth down in fucking Tecmo Bowl, how are you gonna go for anything when

its for real?”

“I still think you’re making too big a deal out of a game,” said Keith.

Do you now?” asked Greg. “You’ll get it one day, Keith.” Things were getting

a bit too tense. I figured it was time to change the subject.

“Keith, turn the game off, buddy.” I said, “It’s family time*.”

“Yeah,” said Greg. “Where are Perry and Shane?” Keith leaned down and

switched off the Nintendo. The TV was turned to the Disney channel, and Keith

hurriedly fumbled for the power button. He switched off the TV while Greg and I shook

our heads.

“Uh, Perry is in his room on the phone,” he said. “I don’t know where Shane is.”

He pulled off the old man sweater and threw it on the floor. “You guys wait for him. I’m

gonna go for a walk.” Greg and I exchanged worried glances.

“Where you going?” I asked.

“Just for a walk. I’ll see you guys later.” With that, Keith grabbed his jacket,

threw a smoke in his mouth, and walked out the door.

“I wonder what’s up with him?” Greg asked. He pushed Keith’s chair out of the

47

way and sat on the floor to play some Tecmo Bowl.

“I hate when he does this,” I said. “Tell Perry I said ‘hi.’ I’m gonna see what’s

up with Keith. He’s not running away this time. This is one habit of his that’s ending

this year.” I headed towards the door.

“Good luck, dude. I’ll be here,” said Greg. “I’m gonna beat Dallas without

throwing a pass.”

“Then good luck yourself.”

I ran out after Keith.

 

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