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Like Grandma's Cookin'!
Re-published from a previous edition...
Just north and across the street from this plaza is my old home away from home; the old community center (today Boxing Center/Youth Club House) which was my haven for staying out of the mean streets and thus trouble (most of the time). It was there that I became a pro at billiards and ping pong and was able to beat any average person at both. The center operated on a first up basis and you got to play as long as you won. If you lose, it could be up to two hours or more before you got another chance to play especially during the busy summer months when we were out of school.
I learned from not backing down and looked forward to getting my butt kicked by the older players; some of whom were grown men in their 30's and up who could have easily been professional hustlers. Thank God no betting was allowed because that kept the guns and serious fights away. We played mostly for bragging rights and being pointed out as the guy no one wanted to play. Trash talking was encouraged only if you could back it up with outstanding play. I miss those days, the competition, and the dudes that still have a place in my memories of growing up in Miami. Back then we did not refer to each other by the "N" word unless it was from a negative connotation.