Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fish in a Barrel

I was sitting on the sideline while Coach Dave ran soccer practice when all of a sudden, he pulled up lame with a torn calf muscle. Coach Dave asked me if I would run the drills. "Sure," I said, putting away my cell phone.

For the first -- and what turned out to be the only -- drill I participated in, the kids had to run through a gauntlet in a British Bulldog type game. My job was to line up balls along the sideline and kick them at the kids while they ran from one end of the course to the other. If I hit a kid in the leg, he or she would join me and try to knock out other kids, until there was only one kid left.

The first run was quite possibly a thing of beauty. I suppose it depends on how you define "beauty." For certain people, it doesn't get more beautiful than getting a clean shot on a wild animal and watching it collapse in a dead bundle of flesh. The people who think shooting a wild animal is beautiful would have enjoyed my shot. As the kids ran across the field during the first pass, I kicked all the balls and missed as they dodged my shots. But on the last ball, I kicked it in front of the kids. Just before Keira reached the finish line, the ball passed between her legs and trapped her foot coming forward, flinging her forward. She got up and stood still with her head down. Coach Dave limped over and comforted her.

On the next round, I was being extra cautious. I'm not a hunter. That's when Thane, the smallest kid on the team, started talking trash. "You ca-an't hit me, you ca-an't hit me." In an attempt to put a little more heat on the ball, my pivot foot slid on the damp grass, causing me to kick slightly under the ball. I don't even need to tell you what happened, but I will anyway just to remove all doubt -- the ball bounced off Thane's head. Poing.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, nothing is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.


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