Certain things will just elicit memories in you. “Thinking out loud” by Ed sheeren makes me think about summer camp, coconuts make me think about this tea shop and lavender makes me think of ’08.
Wester Hailes Education Center reminds me of being a kid in general. I started playing chess when I was around 9, I went with a few friends but I got good pretty quickly. I spent the next three years playing chess for my school, winning trophies, slaying teams and qualifying for national competitions. I spent a fair few weekends of my young life here. I had my first swim without my parents here, my first pizza and chips, I made my first black friend (conservative Asian life). I watched some kid called Rishi Panda buy 200 lollipops, Ewan Scally got me hooked on mochas from a dusty old coffee dispenser downstairs and I beat some kid called Robert in a swimming race down here.
It’s strange going through my old haunts, it’s been about 4 years since I’ve last been here but nothing’s really changed, the swimming pools exactly the same, the crummy water fountain and hot chocolate machine are still there. The only thing that’s changed is me (vomiting as I write that line). I went over to the juniors competition, on the little table there’s two shields, one for each little league. Glancing over the years I get “Sciennes” winning 3 consecutive years of each, a little shield thing engraved with my primary schools name. It’s dope. I remember most of my competitions here, my high fives from Derek whenever I was leaving for a match, Bill making us do little puzzles between games and Ewan trying to push people into the canal during lunches.
Edit: I’m three games in. First game was a loss, I’ll take that, my opponent was a dick. Second opponent this girl from Wood mill Warriors, realizing chess is a game of the mind I decide to destroy her mind. “hey you know how American universities have their sports teams called like Spartans and warriors, here’s the Wood mill varsity team.” We get timers to play, each person gets 25 minutes. I don’t even bother using it, mind games, I will beat this girl in 25 minutes. Just before she’s about to lose I finally click it over to her side “times running out.”
Game 3 made me cry, first of all the girl is like a chess 10, so like a real world 6, she goes to this stupid chess club thing, an actual varsity chess team, I decide to ruin her. She’s a grade 1300, in reference you get about 20 for every tournament game win and lose about 50 for every loss. I finished my career at 10 with a grade of 900 and I was one of the best for my age group. Anyway after some inspired forks and pins I’m up and on my way to winning, I’d prepared a victory speech was about to implement it. I lose, probably because I spent all my time creating a mocking speech to destroy her, well that backfired.
Next match is with this cocky little Indian kid, he tries to trashtalk, he gets verbally destroyed. I teach him this handshake because you gotta win them over before you annihilate them. “I’m not scared of you” comes out. We start playing. Two minutes in I leave the hall. I’ve won, and I leaned over the table to whisper ” scared now?” before leaving him to tidy up the board on his own.