Learn from the children

Published 4:47 am Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On Saturday, I awoke to a beautiful fall morning complete with a hint of the cool weather to come. Thinking about the day ahead brought a contented smile to my lips. In precisely five hours and ten minutes Gauge, my 7-year-old grandson, would be debuting as a soccer star. It mattered not that it was his first game ever, and his team had only practiced once. I could see his future unfolding in my mind’s eye complete with adoring fans. No doubt his face would soon be on a “Wheaties” box.

Now where is my chair? I think the yellow one will be a little easier to carry, in case I don’t find a spot close to the field.

The hint of a cool breeze had lulled me into a false sense of security, and I didn’t even think of bringing an umbrella or cap. Soon, I was seated next to my daughter in law, Cherrie, and her friend, Kayla, on the sidelines. My heart melted when Gauge ran over for a drink and squealed happily at the sight of me.

He sat in my lap for a moment and let me steal a little kiss. I know these sweet moments will soon be a thing of the past, so I savor each one.

“Gauge,” I said. “Do you think I could get some pompoms and lead cheers for the team?”

He enthusiastically agreed that this would be a great idea. I thought he would say no, so I guess now I had better find some pompoms! I will cheer as unobtrusively as possible from my seat, unless he happens to score, and then I can’t promise what might happen!

Soon the field swam in a sea of red and blue clad little bodies. Moms, Dads, friends, and grandparents cheered their little stars on as they kicked the ball toward their own goal, toward the other teams goal, and out of bounds. The voices from the sidelines cheered in Spanish and in English. The languages differed, but the love and excitement came through the same as we proudly watched our little ones learning the rules of the game and good sportsmanship.

The midday sun bore down hot as a firecracker on my bare head. I looked around at all the sensible people wearing hats, and I wanted to snatch one. Realizing this could be a bad idea, I hurried to my car to cool off for a minute. Before I caught my breath my phone dinged. Wouldn’t you know it? Gauge scored as soon as I walked away!

I practically ran back to the field afraid that I might miss some other awesome play. Gauge didn’t score again, but I sat with sweat pouring down my face for the duration. The game ended, and all the fans made a tunnel of arms and cheered as both teams ran through. The young players high fived and hugged each other indiscriminately.

My eyes grew misty as I realized these young ones didn’t see race or nationality; they didn’t even know which team had won. Their joy was in playing the game, and doing their best. Their love was so tangible and real that their faces shone with it. The world had not yet taught them to be disrespectful or unkind.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.