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Iron Maiden, "Afraid To Shoot Strangers"

During that magical summer of 1992, my friends were back home in the S.F. Bay Area, from their respective colleges. Plenty were available (we did have summer school or seasonal jobs, but those still left plenty of free time), and when each brought in his/her siblings and other friends, all of a sudden, we had enough to do group/team sports. Since we had the time and Muni Fast Passes, we made it a point, to check out various parks/playgrounds throughout the City.

One day, we decided to meet up at the Polo Fields, out in Golden Gate Park. To our amazement, it was sunny, not a cloud in the sky. For such a beautiful day, the place was empty. Only a few people were jogging/walking, and playing rugby, ultimate Frisbee, and soccer. The occasional cyclist, and maybe 1 or 2 rollerskaters passed by, in the hours we were there that day.

Nowadays, the Polo Fields are packed, also hosting lacrosse, cross country, and Outer Lands.

But anyway, 25 years ago, we staked out a slice of one of the fields, put down some cones, and played football. Just as we are calculating with the way we put together stereo systems, I was smart. Instead of putting my girl teammates in the skilled positions, I put them on the line(s). And instead of risking mess-ups on a shotgun, I went under center, and had a girl hike me the ball. My future girlfriend, ACS, was really enthusiastic about the center position, and taught the other girls about the snap count, and how to hike the ball. The only one who was reluctant to play center was the one on her period.

As QB, I was able to take a quick 3-step drop, and get the ball out to my speedy and skilled (male) receivers. Put two of them on one side, have them cross, which acts as a pick. Or, if I rolled out, the other team was afraid to touch the girls, so I often had ACS pull, and seal off the end.

On the other side of the ball, putting all the girls on the D-line was, for them, fun. They could act as a pack, going after the other team's QB. And with the girls on the line, that freed up our skilled guys to blanket receivers, and our linebackers to be ballhawks.

On one play, my friend Timmy was the opposing QB. He muffed a bad shotgun snap, and then had 4 girls pile on top of him. Sometimes I wonder if Timmy didn't mind fumbling, if only to have all those girls gang tackle him.

Ah, with such nice weather, and all that space, you could make as much noise as you wanted. Our friend Skull had his Sony boombox, which actually had a CD player. One of the songs which fit the mood was Iron Maiden's "Afraid To Shoot Strangers." Just as my team used its brains, to put players in position to succeed, "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" made us think.

Yeah, the singer plays a soldier, who wrestles with the thoughts of having to fire upon the enemy. But musically, we couldn't figure out where Iron Maiden lifted the interlude, which actually appears twice: once at the 2:45 mark; and again at the final outro, at the 5:42 mark. Back in high school, my friends Jacob and Marissa played clarinet and sang, respectively. "Afraid To Shoot Strangers'" interlude was familiar to them, but they couldn't quite finger which symphony it came or was morphed from.

Anyway, because "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" provides a break from Iron Maiden's more galloping, up-tempo, and machine gun-like numbers, it has long been a fan favorite. For us audiophile dawgs, it's one of those rewards, for digging deeper into the rock music lexicon.

-Lummy The Loch Monster

Edits: 06/29/17

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Topic - Iron Maiden, "Afraid To Shoot Strangers" - Luminator 21:58:11 06/29/17 (1)


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