Homecoming game recalls memories of intro to football

Wok & Roll by Peter Kwong, (Frederic) Inter-County Leader
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My wife and I drove five hours to Iowa to watch our nephew’s homecoming game. What we’ll do for our families!

My sister-in-law, Rhonda, and her family, live in a farmhouse in Dunkerton, Iowa, a small town outside of Waterloo. While my wife just loves animals, Rhonda is nuts about animals … and I mean nuts.

Let me think and count for a second. She has four cats living in the house, more in the barn, goats and llamas that spit when you get too close, ducks, chickens, and even peacocks. Our house is decorated with their shed feathers.

Peter Kwong, football
Peter Kwong

Oh, and that was just the barn animals, there is a shed for others — parrots, conure birds, ferrets and whatever, I lost count. There must be 30 to 40 animals out there!

It was our nephew Dalton’s last year as the quarterback, and he has been doing very well all year long. The game was totally lopsided and the visiting team didn’t even have a chance. The final score was 78-8. I felt so bad for the other guys. But hey, it is just a game.

To add icing on the cake, Dalton was crowned homecoming king by his peers. That was a lot of fun, watching him suck up the glory. What a way to celebrate your senior high school year.

I never played football in Hong Kong. Well, we did play football, but it is called soccer in the U.S. Life is most confusing, especially on the first day of college registration. I remember signing up for my classes with the counselor. 

“So, what is your major?” she asked.

“Well, I would like to study business administration, as I would like to get into a business of my own one day.”

“Great,” she said, as she was writing down different classes that I should be taking.

“What kind of sports were you involved in high school in Hong Kong?” she asked.

“Well, I love football,” I said with a smile. Her eyes lit up, “And what position did you play?”

“Center forward,” I said, with a lot of pride.

“Great,” she said.

While handing me a form, she told me to go to the locker room in the gym to get sized up and get ready for practice. To get “sized up?” What in the world? When we played football in Hong Kong, all we needed was a pair of shorts and a pair of sneakers … or just whatever shoes we were wearing. Our parents never figured out how a pair of good leather shoes could be worn out in only a month or two. Oh well, another mystery of life.

I was more confused when I was handed a helmet, shoulder pads and thigh pads. What? All these to play football? I looked in the mirror after I figured out how to put on the gear.

Very strange, I told myself. The term “peculiar” came to mind. When in Rome, do what the Romans do. Now that I am in America, I must, as well, follow suit.

Off to the field I went, after seeing all the guys out there who dressed like I did, the tension eased up a bit. The coach looked at my sign-up sheet and gave me a warm, friendly smile.

“So, you are new here, eh? And you play center. Great. Now just go join the boys for some warm-up exercise.”

The counselor must have omitted the word “forward” from my field position. I played center forward, not just center. To go with the flow, I got in line with the others. We did jumping jacks, push-ups … easy stuff. Then came time for a scrimmage.

I had never heard that term before. I quietly asked the guy next to me what I should be doing. He looked more puzzled than I was. “So, what’s your position?”

I meant to say center forward, but only the word center came out. He smiled and directed me to the middle of the front line.

“When you hear ‘hut, hut,’ just pass the ball to the quarterback behind you, and try not to let anyone get to him. Got it?” 

I looked at the olive-shaped ball.

“This is football?” I thought to myself. “What happened to the round ball that I grew up with?”

Before the whistle blew, I felt a pair of hands on my behind. “Hey, wait, wait,” I thought to myself. “I don’t even know your name.”

Then I heard “hut, hut.”  My instinct told me to get rid of that ball as quickly as possible. That wasn’t too bad, I told myself as I was slowly standing up. Then from out of nowhere, a 300-pound Samoan guy ran straight toward me and knocked me unconscious. That was a long, long time ago … and what memories!

After my nephew’s football game, I cooked a frittata for the family the next morning. It is just an open-faced omelet — easy, simple and delicious. There are just a few steps to it, a piece of cake.

Ready? We fed six with these ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bacon – cooked and chopped
  • 1 lb. sliced mushroom
  • 1/2 lb. sliced tomatoes
  • 1 sliced onion, optional
  • 1 dozen eggs, scrambled
  • 8 oz. cheese of your choice

In a nonstick frying pan:

  • Cook the bacon till crisp, chop, set aside.
  • In the same pan, cook the onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, set aside.
  • Cook the eggs until they’re not runny.
  • Add the mushroom mix, then the chopped bacon, and then top it with cheese.
  • Turn the oven to broil, put the whole pan inside. When the cheese is melted and brown, it’s ready to be served.

If you have some baked potatoes from the night before, cut them into slices and cook them in the bacon grease until golden brown. Sprinkle with a little garlic salt and Italian seasoning or Parmesan cheese. Also, serve with English muffins or some special toast.

The frittata is like a deep-dish pizza, divide it into slices. Enjoy!

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