I watch them fly across the field, the black andwhite checkered ball skipping and dancing on their toes. They sound like a herdof elephants, but their blue and green uniforms glitter in the sun likebutterflies. I love being here at Roger's Park on a summer Sunday. The soccergames get fiercer as the season wears on, and today the games are even betterthan usual. But, I have to admit, I have come not to watch the games but to watchone player. Amid the brown, sweaty bodies his stands out. He is the captain, theencourager, the soul of that team, and he is mine. His black hair falls into hiseyes and he swipes it away unthinkingly as he lays out the game plan at thebreak. His blunt hands become beautiful as they gesticulate, and even from here,on the other side of the fence, I can see his teeth baring in grins and grimaces.The play resumes and his team runs to the center, the pot-bellied men and thelean boys equally proud as they strip their shirts away to reveal sweaty torsosto the glaring sun and the cheering crowd. They are all beautiful in their prideand their happiness. These men who usually clump in workboots now dance incleats, down the field and back, until their leader, their soul, the vision Ihave come to see, scores the winning goal. The roar of the crowd, his poetry,echoes until it seems all the world must hear it. Is that why he plays here, forthe same reason I write? Are his footsteps in the dirt the hieroglyphics withwhich he tells the world his story? I understand now why he is so sad when itrains.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.