#893 Orange slices at half-time

Urkel could pull it off -- me, not really

When I was six years old my math skills suddenly took a steep tumble, so my parents whisked me off to the eye doctor who twiddled a bunch of knobs and eventually concluded that this L’il Squinter couldn’t see the blackboard. Unfortunately, instead of asking me to drink a glass of carrot juice every morning or just sit closer to the front of the class, he wrote me a prescription for some thick Coke-bottle glasses and sent me on my way.

Being the only kid in first grade who wore glasses was no fun. I was Four Eyes, Dr. Spectacles, and Blindy, all in one recess.

To make matters worse, they didn’t make too many glasses frames for kids in those days. Maybe it’s different now, but at the time the store only had one pair that fit me — a thick, red plastic set that had to be held around my head with a black elastic band. Yeah, it’s true: not only was I cursed with Blurry Eyes but I had a side case of Pin Head, too. It was embarrassing arriving to school looking like Steve Urkel, only without the spunk or sassiness.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for those glasses to become the bane of my existence.

I broke them about once a week.

I fell off someone’s back in the schoolyard, crashed into my sister running around the basement, and got pegged with snowballs on the way home from school. I ran into a fire pole on the playground, stepped on them getting out of bed, and left them sitting on couches and chairs around the house. Once I even broke them two days in a row. And it was the same story every time: I sheepishly appeared at dinner with my busted glasses on my face, thick wads of masking tape holding them together, and I sat through dinner until my parents very patiently took me back to the same glasses store later at night, to buy the same set of red, plastic frames, again and again and again.

Call it what you want. It hurts when you take one to the face.Now, my most painful memory of busting up my specs came during a house league football / soccer game. Almost everyone I knew played football / soccer as a kid — getting some exercise by joining historical local franchises such as Shisko’s Produce and A&R Auto Body, Est 1956.

It was in my first and only season, in the middle of a big playoff game, when I unceremoniously took a well-booted ball right in the middle of my face. My glasses cracked into two pieces, I fell to the ground and started crying, and as the play raced on without a whistle, I slowly got my drippy self together and blindly made it off the field. I held half of my glasses in each hand and wore a big, red circle on my face from the ball, like someone had set a frying pan down on me, accidentally mistaking my round, childlike features for a tightly-coiled stove burner.

What my face felt like

Well, I got to the sidelines and was met with bad news. Basically, the coach wouldn’t let me off the field. See, the problem was that our team was already short players and if I went off we’d be disqualified. Remember — this was the playoffs here. A free pizza party and a round of root beer floats was on the line. Nobody wanted the game to end.

So — completely blind, tears in my eyes, my bright red, well-smacked face on display for all to see, I stood in the corner of the field for the rest of the game, somehow helping our team avoid disqualification as well as victory.

Got me through my last game before retirement

It was tough.

I remember the only thing that got me through that terrible ordeal was my mom coming over and setting up a lawn chair beside me, popping open an old, Tupperware container, and giving me all the orange slices I wanted from the halftime stash.

And let me tell you, I loved me some half-time orange slices. They were like sweet, liquid energy, filling me with sugar and pep and turbo-charging me for the second half.

Now, my showing that day was pathetic and humiliating, I don’t deny that. And I’m sad to report that it finally forced me to hang up the cleats for good, retiring forever from the game I knew mildly.

But I still remember those orange slices, and my mom generously thiefing the entire container so I could make it through the game. So thanks, mom. And thanks, half-time orange slices. Because both of you are fully and completely


Many orange slices eaten while wearing them

Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

33 thoughts on “#893 Orange slices at half-time

  1. Having played three years of pee-wee soccer myself (one year for a team with the intimidating name of “Penny Elizabeth Interior Design”) and having never touched the ball outside of practice (my strategy was to run in the opposite direction of the ball at all times) I can relate all to well to the fact that Orange Slices are clearly the highlight of youth soccer.

    Its weird how universal this trend has become. I remember this from my days growing up outside of Toronto, but just this month, I went to watch my wife play in an intramural soccer game in San Diego with her hospital (doctors vs. house staff), and once half-time rolled around, guess what was busted out in tupperware? That’s right, those tasty slices of orange.


  2. I played soccer for two years before I got my glasses, and my intense blindness did make me the most frequently mocked team member. Maybe it’s an age-gap thing, but I can’t recall any delicious oranges. The only thing that got me through those torturous Saturday mornings was the promise of deliciously high-fructose Capri Sun pouches – (Fruit Punch flavor, duh) – the taste of 1997.

  3. What the hell kind of soccer were you playing?
    If it was truely half time then you would be allowed off the field. There is no rule of disqualification for leaving the field when play has been called, now if it were between second half and overtime I could understand that but the rule has nothing to do with the fact that you were down players.

    1. Wow. Take the time to really read the story and you would see it was the middle of the game which is why they needed all 11 players on the field. And I know your comment was written years ago but your stupidity seriously rubbed me the wrong way.

  4. Least favorite item on this list. I have never heard of such a thing or feel it’s something everyone can even relate to. Lame.

  5. You just described my entire childhood: broken glasses, teasing, and orange slices at halftime during soccer and inning changes at baseball games. Well done.

  6. Referring to “soccer” as “football” is decidedly un-awesome. I would even venture to say that it is anti-awesome, and should constitute reasonable grounds for Senator Joseph McCarthy to perform a full background check on you.

  7. Ah, you bring back memories of my own childhood soccer team, The Grasshoppers. Except we got pretzels at halftime and hotdogs and sodas after the game. My favorite part was the team-lineup high fives!

    And you know who is not awesome? Susan. Because she thinks SHE has to relate to something for it to be awesome.

  8. I too played soccer growing up, and i as well loved the orange slices. Though my parents love telling the story of the time i was goalie during a practice and i took a hard shot right to my special area. But I got right up after it, and with a slightly higher voice, finished the practice.

  9. I used to play on my high school lacrosse team and we STILL had half-time orange slices.

    *your blog is so freakin hilarious. i look like an absolute doofus sitting in my lecture amongst hundreds of university students spasming and giggling uncontrollably to myself .


  10. besch64 – either you’re being sarcastic or you’re forgetting that Neil is Canadian – those of us outside the USA do indeed refer to soccer as football because (unless you’re the goalie) you can’t use your hands to touch the ball, unlike just about every other form of footy.

  11. This is great! My cousin and I were the only girls on an all boys soccer team growning up and we barely ever played, instead we would tell the coach we needed a break just so we could sit on the sidelines looking for four leaf clovers and eating oranges. We decided years ago that the oranges were the best part of the experience…

  12. I can’t believe anyone can say this one is lame…unless the only form of exercise they ever got as a kid was gym class (and of course you never played because you always were having their period that day). A couple of years ago I took oranges to my mens’ league game…we’re talking middle of July, 30 degrees outside and no subs because half of the team were away on holidays. I don’t know if we won, I don’t know if I scored, but I can tell you that I was the true hero of the day!!

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  14. I play rep soccer now, and APPARENTLY us big kids have outgrown the orange slices.
    Ah, sweet citrus, how I miss thee…

  15. Aww! I was a fat choir kid who tried her very best to avoid any running – ever, so I never played soccer, and this is STILL one of the most awesome posts. :) Hooray for your mom’s Robin Hood impression, thieving those slices.

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  17. I was just having an argument with a girl because I claimed that it is a common experience a lot of people share, so if I was to reference “orange slices at halftime” it should be generally accepted or understood. Boom landed here. Thumbs up for helping me prove my case. lol I wish I had an orange slice right f-ing now honestly… ahhhh the memories. Also, if you think about it, they say that the sense of smell/taste is the strongest memory trigger. So, I guess conversely, talking about a smell/taste from the past should trigger a sharp (intense) recall. IDK though..
    1 Love

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