As many of you may know I generally go by the nickname Beeker. This has nothing to with being a muppet or having a mop of red hair but stems from playing a sport… yikes… 23 years ago when I was fourteen. In the fall around Vancouver, I would be found on a soccer pitch, either playing or reffing (and I’m a much better ref than player.) During the summer months I tried my hands at a few different sports, it started with baseball but I played for some truly terrible teams with the best name ever Warden’s Better Cleaning and Janitor Services with a mottled blue-grey colour that was truly cutting edge for the early 80s. The highlight of my career in baseball was intentionally getting caught in run-downs while trying to steal bases because I was bored. Then I joined swimming for a few years and really enjoyed that, at least until my coaches informed I was good enough to join the A squad and my reward… was getting up at 5am or so for practice. That ended that career.
In Grade 9, my PE class did a set of classes on field lacrosse. Much to my surprise I loved the game from the outset. Maple Ridge started a new lacrosse club that year, so I convinced my parents to permit me to sign up – which was easy since they didn’t want me being a layabout for the summer. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough players in my age group to form a team, but I wanted to play. I inquired at the two nearest B (lower) level teams; Port Coquitlam and Port Moody. I never heard back from PoCo but Port Moody expressed interest.
The first drive to Ioco Road in Port Moody seemed to take forever. I was fourteen, with borrowed, battered old pads and a stick I could barely hold properly, and god knows I couldn’t shoot or cradle a ball.
But funny thing, the coaches Rod and Leigh took to me straight away and realized I would never be a scoring threat but I had good vision and understood the game better than a lot of players with much more experience. I became a defender and I had good speed back then.
Of course, this was box lacrosse which is played indoors in empty hockey arenas with the ice melted. Landing on concrete after a crosscheck from behind is perhaps the only thing less enjoyable than landing on ice. At least there were no razor sharp skates, just teenaged boys with permission to wield lumber in angry, puberty fueled rage.
I nearly quit before the first regular season game. Actually nearly walked off the floor despite being one of the first five people put on the floor.
Rod and Leigh were on the bench and started heckling me. Yes, my coaches were ribbing me before the opening draw. See, the whole team had their names scrawled across their back, now for S. Hendricks or K. Usher or M. Camara that’s not a big deal. Being Byron Kerr, my nameplate read… B. Kerr.
From the moment that Rod and Leigh saw my ‘name’ I become Beeker. For the next four years, no one who played lacrosse or lived in Port Moody knew my first name was Byron.
I was Beeker.
This came to an amusing head the next year when new players joined the team. One memorable character was Big Jake. Now back then I was not quite 5’8 and maybe 135 lbs soaking wet (170cms and 60Kgs) whereas Jake stood 6’3 or so and outweighed me by 75 lbs at least (190cms 90Kgs.)
It was a random drill in practice, I think it was breakaways for those rare occasions I could pick up the ball or Jake could outsprint an opponent… although his shot was hard enough to threaten to shatter plexiglass.
Someone asked me, “Hey Byron, how was your weekend?”
Before I could respond Jake answered, “Who In The Fuck Is Byron? There Ain’t No Byron on This Fucking Floor.”
(Jake dropped more F-Bombs than a Charlie Sheen rant.)
“I’m Byron,” I piped up.
“You’re Not Fucking Byron, You’re Fucking Beeker!”
“Really Jake? Really?” I respond. “Did you honestly thinking my parents named me Beeker?”
“Well Duuuuh. Fuck Ya, Yer Beeker!”
“Gods Jake I know you’re stupid but not even you can be that stupid.”
Now the great thing about Jake is that he wasn’t the quickest on the uptake. Literally you could watch his thoughts forming like glaciers moving. This was good for me. For by the time he recognized my insult, I was already out the arena sprinting to my car in the parking lot.
Luckily Jake eventually saw the humour and let me live… well… let Beeker live. He was fond of Beeker. So am I.
Now, to bring this to the present day. When the gang at VSCA was finishing up our RPG book Diaspora (or you can buy it from Evil Hat), the authors were leaning towards B. Murry, C.W. Marshall, T. Dyke… but would I be okay with B. Kerr. Considering I over 20 years of being B. Kerr I was more than happy with having my name on the front cover of a book. Which was one of my dreams since I was a small boy.
Byron, B. Kerr, Beeker.
All work for me.
I’ve been Beeker a long time.