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Submitted by on Thursday, 26 August 2010 No Comment

How can the kid who can’t find his shoes in the morning lock his eyes onto a soccer ball as if they were guided by a laser?

Why is it that the boy who routinely turns in test papers with questions unanswered, not because he’s stumped but because he’s rushing to move on to the next thing, can unerringly spot a ball flying at him from across a field and stop it from reaching the goal?

The quick and obvious answer: Soccer is more interesting than shoes or schoolwork.

That answer, though, is an oversimplification. It’s not that Big Guy’s lack of focus most days is anything unusual for his age. It’s that his hyperfocus on the field is very, very different.

He’s been that way since his first season of play. Even at age 4, he had an almost preternatural feel for where the action was. He’s never complained that no one would let him kick the ball, and he’s never picked grass or stared at clouds. He’s even learned to love playing defense, which is a big change from last winter.

And it stuns me twice a week to see the rapid transition from the kid running around the house in a mad panicked search for his shin guards to the steely-eyed player. He might quit his homework four times a night, but once he’s crossed the white lines, I marvel at the way he just won’t give up. He’s in perpetual motion during the game, and at halftime he’d rather be kicking the ball around than sitting and resting, even if it’s 100 degrees, he’s dripping in sweat and his face is as red as his uniform.

It’s not that I’m declaring him profoundly talented, though he has and I’m already having to temper dreams of a future as a baseball or soccer superstar. Not crush them, mind you, but inject a little reality. “I can’t wait to come and see you play. But you need to get an education, too, because even the best players don’t play forever.”

I do readily admit, though, that he’s going somewhere that I’ve never been when he’s on the soccer field. It’s a place of complete concentration and focus. I envy him a bit.

It gives me hope for his future, too. I dream of the day when he’ll be able to find his shoes and finish a test as quickly and as thoroughly as he can locate a soccer ball.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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