Initially, Dillard foreshadows the confrontation in her narrative with a description of football that at first seems unimportant and out of place with the rest of the text. However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that the game of football is a symbol for the rules of childhood, for the desire to attack life with gusto. The intensity of the football game and the narrator's excitement at playing hints that there will be aggressive behavior and interactions to come. Because Dillard explains that in football one must play fearlessly to avoid injury, she foreshadows the commitment the players will make to any confrontation. To adults, this fearlessness to avoid injury seems ironic, but according to Dillard, children know to abide by this rule.
Furthering the attention on fearlessness, symbolism provides a clear contrast between the child's enthusiastic view of life and an adult's perspective. For example, the story centers around one incident—a man “in city clothes: a suit and tie, street shoes” chases Dillard and one of her friends through the snow after they toss a snowball into his car’s windshield (100). Dillard is invigorated by the man’s willingness to break the unspoken law of adulthood and “chase [them] silently, block after block” through snow-covered streets, yards, and