America, August 27, 2001
Soccer Moms: Beware of the Soccer Cousin!
Today Peter is very excited, for he knows what will happen in just a few minutes. As he warms up with his team, kicking the soccer ball back and forth, he can barely control his excitement.
Today is the first day of the fall soccer season!
Soon he will be on the field, rushing to and fro to score goals for his team and block goal attempts by the other team. Peter is not scared. He is not worried. He knows that this is his field, his team, and today will be his game.
He concentrates on his practice, not returning to his mother or his cousin until the coach calls for him to stop. Then, even when his body seems to be at rest, his mind is not. Peter is still practicing. Thinking of how he kicked the ball right, trying to forget when he didn't. He is talking with his teammates, encouraging their strengths, and dismissing their weaknesses.
Peter is at once the mascot, the lead player, the master promoter, and the picture of calm. Relaxing comfortably as he leans against his cousin, drinking cool water from his mom, and watching his little sister play with her doll. Peter does not mind his family so close, for they are helpful and encouraging.
He is ready now, ready for the game to begin. Up he jumps and onto the field he runs, his heart pounding in eagerness. There the ball is dropped, and off Peter goes. Attack, attack, attack! Peter charges the other team, stealing the ball this time, blocking a shot that time, and intercepting passes every time.
What is that? How did they score so quickly? Peter cannot believe that all his efforts were for naught, and the team scored against him. This can't be right! He re-doubles his attack, using fists, elbows, knees, and feet to stop his opponents. Luckily he escapes a red card, only to be sidelined when his rage overcomes his judgment.
Focus. He must focus! Yes, he looks into the eyes of his opponents. 'I can beat them,' he thinks. 'I can and I will!'
Into the game he goes again, scoring once, twice, and almost thrice. He passes left, he passes right, the passes are kicked in here, kicked in there, and kicked past too many times. No, the game does not look good. Peter is exhausted. His heart is tired. His legs are tired. His face is red form the heat and effort, and yet his team still is behind. Oh agony of defeat!
There it is, the final call. The game is over and Peter's team has lost. Such pain he feels, but does not show, as he congratulates the other team. Pain that he will have to cool with treats of cookies and juice with his team. There will be other days, there will be other games, and Peter will be there for them. Ready. Willing. Able.
And he will know the glory of victory!