When I learned I was having twin boys during my first pregnancy, I imagined that my house would be littered with sports equipment—baseball bats, hockey skates, soccer balls, tennis rackets, and basketballs that we would have to chase down the street. “Sign them up early,” we were counseled by well-meaning friends and relatives.
Around here, people sign their children up for sports as soon as they are able to walk. Imagine toddlers tripping over soccer balls, holding wobbly stances on hockey skates, and learning to carry a football tucked under one arm rather than in front of them in two.
So when the twins were four (almost a year late according to said well-meaning friends) we signed them up for “micro” soccer.
The grass is itchy.
It’s too hot.
I’d rather play in the dirt.
When will soccer be ooooover??
My dreams of having at least one future David Beckham in the house were quickly dashed.
But we persevered and signed them up for another season.
One of the twins dutifully followed the coach’s instructions, kicked the ball occasionally, and joined the pack of 4 and 5-year-olds all chasing one ball.
During one particular game, we noticed that our other son was nowhere to be seen in the pack of players. Worried he had dashed off to the adjoining park or worse yet, been crushed under the over-enthusiastic cleats of his peers, I jumped up to look for him.
And that’s when I heard the laughter.
I turned to see a small, tow-headed boy a few inches from the sideline, not facing the game in progress, but the parents who were watching the game. But they were no longer watching the pack of clumsy pre-schoolers. Instead they were watching my son and listening to his comedy routine.
I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but his hands were gesturing wildly as he ran back and forth on the sideline. Occasionally he’d stop in front of one mother, pause for dramatic effect, and then point and smile before moving on.
My husband, who was one of the coaches, called him back into the game.
He ran back in and chased after the pack of children, only to return to the sideline and the waiting smiles of the parents parked in their folding chairs.
And he started in again—working the sidelines as cool as a late-night talk show host. I’m sure he was talking about sharks or cartoons or even narrating the game in some sort of silly, pre-school play-by-play.
Whatever he was saying, the parents were eating it up.
He was reveling in his moment of glory.
And my heart was swelling with pride.
My sweet little preemie baby, who didn’t learn to walk until he was almost 19-months old, ran with his head down, tripped over his own feet, and bumped into walls, was the star of the game that day. Not because he “bent it like Beckham,” but because he was using HIS talent to entertain the crowd.
He gave a group of bored parents watching their children trip over a soccer ball for an hour something to laugh about.
I may not have a future soccer star; but at age ten, that kid can still work a crowd like nobody’s business! And that, my friends, is true talent.
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