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Essay from the Past

Corky Cummings


Sometimes when I sit down to write an essay I feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor’s 7th husband on their honeymoon. I know what I’m supposed to do, I just don’t know how to make it interesting. I guess this is one of those times when I am having writer’s block so I pulled an old essay from my archives for this month’s edition of oldartguy.com. I have been told by at least one reader that they enjoy my stories related to my grandkids so I found this one from 2013 when they played their first soccer game. Hazel was 5 at the time and Hank was 4.

The Hot Tamale Ninjas opened their season today with a hard fought 3-1 loss to their opponent wearing green uniforms (team name unknown). Hazel and Hank were both listed as starters but Hank deferred to the second quarter because of a case of the first game jitters. This was probably caused by the large crowd in attendance (estimated at 12). One of the first things you appreciate in watching games at this level is that there are no referees and tripping is allowed. Otherwise the game would be an endless series of penalty kicks. 

In the first quarter there was only one goal scored as most of the action centered around a gang of kids clustered together going pretty much nowhere. Hazel was put in as the goalkeeper in the second quarter and the opposing team scored their second goal. Evidently Hazel has never been told it is okay to move, if necessary, to block a shot. 

Hank made his grand entrance in the second quarter and immediately started to converse away from the action with his best friend KK. No one was quite sure what their discussions were about but KK’s dad was fairly certain there was some potty talk going on. Eventually the first half ended and the team was served orange slices to keep their energy level up. When the third quarter started, Hazel elected to stay on the sideline because all of the orange slices hadn’t been eaten.

One of the better players on the Ninjas is a boy named Sebastian. He played very well in the first half but in the second half he became overcome with boredom and elected to do some individual acrobatic moves on the field away from the other players. When Sebastian regained his focus, he unintentionally gave one of our girl players named Riley a head butt to the ear, which caused her to not participate in anymore of the action. 

When the last quarter rolled around, the team was pretty much gassed, or as Assistant Coach Mark said “had hit a wall.” We did score our only goal in the fourth quarter but it should be noted that it was probably because the green team was changing goalkeepers and the goal was left unattended for about five minutes. 

When the game ended, the crowd formed a tunnel for both teams to run through, which I think was the highlight of the day for all of them. Probably neither team knew whether they won or lost, and they didn’t care because there were post-game snacks to be enjoyed.