Monday, April 23, 2012

Flaming Dragons Go Down in Flames


We arrived at the game a little late.  The Flaming Dragons were already on the field.  The sidelines were flanked with parents and siblings bundled under blankets and nestled onto folding chairs.  Chris was the coach and he raced along the field bellowing out shrewd commands such as "Cooper, quit chasing that butterfly and watch the ball" and "Owen, wrong goal."  As Chris ran in our direction, I tried to catch his eye and flash him a smile.  He replied with a scowl.  Oh boy.


Just then, Caleb yelled from the sideline, "Hey Dad, what's the score?"


The parents around us erupted into laughter.


As Chris raced past us, he replied, "Don't worry about it."


The crowd let out a second wave of howls.


Right at that moment, Connor (who had been acting as an assistant coach) screamed, "It's zero to twenty."


Guess who was the zero.


Chris would later describe their five-year-old opponents as a "well-oiled machine."  Their competitors dribbled, passed, scored, and defended as if they played on some fancy European soccer league.  I kept glancing at the players desperately trying to see if one of them had a five o'clock shadow or looked like they possibly owned a learner's permit.  But if height was any indicator they were indeed five-year-old boys that possessed some freakishly good soccer ability and all got thrown on the same team. 


The Flaming Dragons, well, that's another story.  They tended to run from the ball more than to it.  They preferred to pepper their play with waves to the fans and small talk with their teammates.  They didn't really see the need to exert much energy until the post-game snacks were distributed.  (It's amazing how they all got a second wind at snack time.)


Chris came home defeated and collapsed onto the coach.  He announced to the ceiling, "I'm never coaching again."


But, I know him.  He'll coach again because one Flaming Dragon is over the moon that he's dad is the coach.  


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Tonight, after Cooper said the dinner prayer, his older brother said, "Cooper, your prayers sound like the Pledge of Allegiance."  Indeed, Cooper merged his prayer with the Pledge of Allegiance.  He thanked God for Liberty and Justice for all.







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