Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Last Game of the Year
Sheets of rain soak the ground in our small jungle clearing. Our bare feet churn the field into a stream of mud and grass as every drop of rain swells the ranks of the Caño Bravo River on its steady march toward the sea. Bruises and mud are my war paint. My lungs burn as I streak down the field. An opening forms in the enemy ranks, and my brother in arms takes the shot. His aim is usually excellent, but his feet are wet and the target is small. The ball goes left and the enemy rushes in for an interception. I run. I run as hard as I can. I run a little bit harder. My opponent is closer and more skilled, but I want it more. I slide. My body cuts a path through the mud and, for the first time ever, my aim is good. I drill the ball the last 5 meters into the goal. I score. I score the first soccer goal of my life in a rain soaked field in Costa Rica, against people who speak no English. I score in a goal that is two feet wide.