I let the frigid air slowly enter my lungs as I take a long, deep breath. I jog to the soccer ball, nestled on top of a frozen patch of grass and strike it on the bottom, making contact while leaning back to chip it over the wall of defenders. I see that the ball headed over the goal, but it sinks down and soars underneath the crossbar, just over the goalie's fingertips, making a thumping sound as it strikes the net. After sending the ball to the goal, I feel great satisfaction knowing I was able to control its path.
I feel peaceful as I realize that with my body I can uncover the beauty of the game of soccer. I believe that this beauty lies in the ability of the player, either unpressured or in the close presence of a defender, to settle and control the ball. Bending the ball to a teammate by striking it on its side, or volleying the ball low into the goal by leaning head and shoulders and chest over the ball, are methods a player uses to control the ball.
When taking a direct kick, I notice that I am most focused on properly striking the ball by following Nature's laws of physics to create beauty in the sport of soccer. As I watch the ball heading toward the net, I feel connected to the ball because I have directed its flight and feel close to Nature because I have worked with Her to create beauty. When one cooperates with Nature's laws, instead of trying to manipulate them, one creates beauty that can be appreciated by others too. This reflects the order and patterns in Nature. Some spectators observe beauty in the thumping of a ball striking the back of the net; others may observe it in the ball from a corner kick curing its path toward the goal and bending into the net at the far post.
When I chip the ball over a defender's head to my teammate so that it lands right at her feet, or redirect the ball from the side into the goal in front of me by heading it properly, I feel I have created beauty for others to observe. I know that I can improve my talent in soccer not just for my contentment, but for the satisfaction of others who watch me play. I think it is important for each to use God's given talents to create beauty for others and thus bring joy to their lives, even if that joy lasts only a few moments. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.