My dad used to tell these soccer stories about myself, my brothers. We always were the star player though there was a team of 11 on the field. We always were kicking arse and taking names.
We always cleared the ball, scored the goal, or had an assist.
Occasionally the stories were true.
This is called the side-door brag. Where someone tells a nice story about you. And occasionally it is true.
My dad used to tell these stories over and over and we'd go, "Dad, enough already."
Then last night, in a packed pub in Maine, among mostly strangers and one soul-wonderful friend, I looked around at all the men and women who were glued to the big screen. I looked at the full stadium on the big screen. And I suddenly felt the urge to tell a story my dad used to tell, which begins and ends in one sentence. It is actually a fragment:
When I played against Abby Wambach.
The rest of it would go: we always lost/ she always scored a lot of goals/ it always looked effortless/ golly/ we'd assign 4 defenders to her/we still always lost
My friend had introduced me to the term "back-door brag," a casual mention of something you want people to know buried in an unnecessary context.
Also to the term "Irish-goodbye," where one gets up from a social gathering, says they are going to use the bathroom, get a drink, be right back, and never returns.
And I have determined that this is neither back door nor side door brag. It is a front door acknowledgement of wonder: my team got occasionally killed by her team and how cool is that?
I'm going to get a drink now. I'll be right back.