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Rocket Soccer 2014

These are my boys. The ones who grow me from 5:30 to 6:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Who lean in for side- hugs or leap from the ground for high-fives on Saturdays after the game before they high-tail it to the jungle gym with a cheese stick flapping in their hand. The ones who take five minutes to tie a single shoelace and who find more pleasure playing Hunters versus Rabbits than anything I’ve come up with since.

These ones. They’ve got a chunk of my heart.

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Which is why on Saturdays their parents and I gather to lose our voices from the sidelines as they run in zig-zagged bursts. And huddle like grapes all kicking the same ball until someone breaks free and the cheering resumes.

At half-time, I stuff their hands with apples and crackers and wait while they wander off for their water bottles. In turn, one of them plucks grass and lays it secretively on another’s head, until the kid with grass on his head and in his lap tattles and we solve it together while I double-knot laces on four pairs of cleats and offer wisdom that nobody hears.

After the game, they want to know if they have won. “What was the score?” one asks. And then collectively, “What was the score?” Until all have chirped and offered their two cents on the topic. Sometimes I admit that we had more goals than the other team. Which is enough. And which spurs a few to smile smugly or to whoop with one arm in the air. But always it is the words from each other, for each other that anybody really wants to hear.

“I saw Silas run really hard today, better than all his other games.” “Alex and Troy had a lot of good passes.” “I saw Cohen throw the ball to Nicholas and then Nicholas scored.”

And even though we have not prayed, have not whispered, “Dear Jesus…,” sometimes it feels as though we have, feels as though our final shout should be “AMEN.”

But it’s “Rockets!” we scream. And eight boys disperse like pea gravel tossed in the air.



One Response to “Rocket Soccer 2014”

  1. Gail Redberg says:

    You have so captured what it’s all about. It took me back to Eureka! days. I love it that you are still doing this. Giving kids an opportunity to shine and giving specific recognition for a job well done. And quelling your intensity to attend to grass on the lap. I am going to share it with that other coach, Lloyd.

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