Then they talked to me.
my mom and dad said,
“you only have two weeks to p
ractice. You just got the
football and you don’t even have a real tee. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t win.”
My mind stopped, my confidence wavered.
“I’m going to win, I..I’m better...”
“We just don’t want you to be upset when you don’t.”
That night it rained and during recess the next day the blacktop still had puddles of darkwater. We practiced anyway. My leather football got wet and overnight it stretched andbloated.Now it was even harder to get my hand around it to throw. And it was soft to punt and kick.The week ended. Saturday arrived. My dad drove me to the high school football field.
“Don’t be disappointed Walt.”
It seemed like hundreds of kids were there from eight to fifteen years old. I had never seen somany kids and parents. They filled the wooden bleachers of the small stadium.All of the trophies, first through third were displayed on a table next to the field. That was thegoal. T,he proof. Take one home.I stared at the gold one.The eight-year-olds went first by alphabetical order. I nailed the punt with one of my best sofar.I smiled filled with triumph. Then everyone else went, one by one through the fifteen-year-olds. I kept track in my mind. I had punted further, way further than any of the other eight-year-olds.Then it was my turn to pass. It was a good pass, right on line. Again I kept track in my mindand I passed further than all the other eight-year-olds.I was winning. And by a lot.I sat down on the wooden bleachers next to my dad, my face glowing.