I went running in the rain during lunch today. I practically had the Centennial Trail to myself--go figure--as I happily splashed along. When I passed by Gonzaga University, a soccer game against San Diego was just starting. So what does this have to do with anything? The Bureau of Information Retrieval kicked in and fished out a memory from when Geoff was five years old and playing youth soccer in Montgomery, Alabama. We parents called it amoeba ball because the kids surrounded the ball in a fluid congregation and generally tried to kick the hell out of it, sometimes kicking with enough force to send a loose shoe flying across the field. It was fun to watch them, especially when one would announce, "Hey, a grasshopper," causing several teammates and opponents to stop and, peering over their knees as they squatted on their haunches, examine this wondrous find while their parents, who had theirs too far in, would be yelling for the kids to get their heads into the game. But that's not what I wanted to tell you about.
My memory banks brought up one particular evening when Geoff's team was to play a game. The weather had cleared after it had rained all day and the field was a soggy mess with standing water all over the place. As we looked at the numerous small ponds covering the field I told Geoff, "I want you to get as wet and as muddy as you can." His eyes lit up and he smiled big as he asked, "Really?" "Really," I said. During the game that boy cut loose and had more fun sliding, splashing, and spraying water. I have no clue what the score was when the game ended, not like it ever mattered anyway, but the memory of watching him play with wild abandon and unbridled joy will stay with me forever.
I wonder if the guys playing for Gonzaga and San Diego had fun today.