Sunday, October 04, 2009


This fall, Sport's slowed down a bit on the soccer field. He's carrying a little extra weight around the middle, getting ready for another growth spurt, I think. Over the last year, he's shot up five inches. He's not as fast as he usually is, though he's just as skilled. He anticipates where the ball is going to be and he tries to beat it there. He passes, takes corner kicks, and encourages his teammates.

He's always got a grin on his face. Hair tousled by the wind, he's in his element.

The second half of the game, he volunteers to be goalie so the kid who usually tends the onion bag can get a little time on the field. Sport lunges, grabbing the ball not just with his arms but with his whole body. He doesn't waste any time, putting the ball back into play as soon as he can.

A hand ball in the box results in a penalty kick. Way back at the other goal, Sport claps his gloves together.

"Can I take the shot, coach?" asks one of his mates. Two or three others volunteer.

"Sport!" yells the coach.

My son glances over, squinting.

"Take the shot!"

He's confused for a moment. A goalie taking the penalty? Is the coach serious? Benched kids from the other team look to their own coaches for confirmation. What's going on?

"Take it!" Coach motions for Sport to run down the field. He doesn't have to be told again. Confidently, he sets down the ball, peers at the goal, then kicks.

It's in! Our side erupts into cheers. The boys slap Sport on the back as he races back to his spot in the box. It's a perfect moment. I take a snapshot of it in my mind. Beautiful.


Jim Smith said...

Life's great reward is a series of connected moments like this one. I love the "snapshot" metaphor and it reminds me that often the 1000 words trump the picture.

pastgrace said...

So he doesn't chase butterflies, eh?