In the summer of 1970, my dad packed us up and moved us from Deshler, Ohio — a village of 1,800 people nicknamed “The Corn City” — to Findlay — a growing city of almost 40,000 residents. I had spent most of my school years going to small country schools. Findlay was, in my mind, the big city. I would live in Findlay from 1970 to 1974, with a brief four-month exit in the spring of 1973 because Dad suddenly moved us to Tucson, Arizona.
Findlay had three junior high schools: Glenwood, Donnell, and Central. These schools housed seventh through ninth-grade students. I attended Central.
In my ninth-grade year, many of the boys at Central began playing a game we called Grog. The game’s goal was to silently come up behind an unsuspecting boy and hit him in the nuts with your fist as hard as possible. As the men reading this story will imagine, a well-placed hit would level a boy, leaving him writhing on the hallway floor. Seeing a boy on the floor groaning in anguish was a sure sign that he had been grogged.
I quickly became wary of anyone coming close to me in the hallway. I took ball-protecting measures to shield myself from being grogged. Other boys did the same. Over time, this violent game lost its luster, and we moved on to other skilled games: wedgies, snapping bras, and seeing who could hit the urinal from the farthest away.
What can I say, I was an immature, stupid junior-high boy. Boys will be boys. Doing dumb stuff is just what young teen boys do . . .You just hope they don’t seriously hurt someone else or kill themselves.
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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