I loved football. Even though the long hair extending out the back of my helmet attracted some good-natured ribbing from the coaches, I loved nothing more than suiting up and hitting the practice field. In large part, football allowed me exhibit my pent up rage in a sanctioned and controlled way. Playing football also gave me time away from Brett and Charlie, neither of whom played. We still smoked pot together before class everyday, but we weren't with each other all the time.
After football season, came wrestling season. Once wrestling season ended, however, the three of us were back at it full time. It was around this time -- the end of 1979 or the beginning of 1980 -- that Brett made a new friend: a young kid who couldn't have been more than 10 years old. This kid had regular access (apparently stolen from his folks) to the best weed we'd ever seen or smoked. He was willing to give us our fill for the "privilege" of hanging out with us older boys.
We were so giddy at our good fortune that it never occurred to any of us how fucked up the situation was. Then one night, in the throws of the munchies, Brett, Charlie, the kid, and I walked over to the local McDonald's for burgers. As fate would have it, my mom also stopped there on the way home from work. She took one look at us, saw the kid, saw we were all stoned, and that was it.
Within a week I was shipped off to my dad's house across town, where I'd live for the rest of my high school years. I'm sure at some level it tortured my mom to send me away, but it was the best move she could have made. I continued to attend Leigh High School, but getting there meant long bus rides to and from downtown San Jose, which in turn meant that I had little time to hang with the guys. On top of that, I was afraid of my dad. He was a cop. I was afraid of what might happen if he found out that I was smoking pot. As a result, I immediately stopped my smoking habit almost entirely.
With that significant break in my routine, I completed my freshman year at Leigh and moved into my sophomore year with a little more clarity of mind and purpose. I really hungered for some recognition from my peers -- boys and girls -- and figured that by excelling on the playing field, I might get that recognition. I didn't.