This past spring, Axel played rugrat soccer. Playing isn’t quite an adequate description of what he did- more like joyful running after his friends (some of whom were running after the ball), seeing who he could crack up with his exaggerated trip-fall-roll-wiggle maneuver (his mother, for one), and asking every five minutes if it was time for snack.
While he’s still not quite sure how he feels about playing the game — soccer’s losing out to pretending to be a mover or playing with the working hose on his new fire truck — he was very enthusiastic about the free t-shirt. That same enthusiasm for wearing the right outfit led him to dress himself in the Chelsea soccer kit his grandparents brought back for him from England for his first trip to a Colorado Rapids game this year.
Axel sat on his grandfather’s lap and actually watched some of the soccer game, cheering along with the crowd and throwing in few random cries of “Go Rapids!”
Jonas, after thoughtfully gnawing on his fingers and cuddling with his grandmother, decided that soccer was A-OK. He ate a piece of pizza bigger than his head, and then discovered that the people sitting near him in the stands were a lot more interesting that the people running around on the field.
First, he rubbed the back of a (very kind) man sitting in front of us. He generously offered slimy Goldfish to everyone around us, and patted another man on the arm. After I told him not to touch strangers without asking their permission, he reached down and hugged the man’s girlfriend. Go Rapids! Throw some elbows! Now hugs for everyone! I think it was a toddler version of celebrating the big win, except that it took place just after halftime and a failed shot on goal.
Thankfully both boys were so focused on the play on the field and who to hug next that they ignored the man behind us, who was telling his friend a very loud, long tale about another friend of theirs who’d been arrested for soliciting a 62-year-old prostitute.
Now, I expect beer drinking, scattered profanity, and maybe even a rowdy teenage streaker at professional sporting events. But discussions about the world’s oldest profession aren’t exactly what I hoped we’d hear while attending a late afternoon soccer match on a Sunday.
“62 years old,” he kept repeating. “62!” He repeated it so often that I expected Axel to ask me what 62 meant, and, since I’m not quite ready to explain what sort of depressing circumstances could force a woman into such a situation, I planned to tell him it was the number on a player’s jersey. Go 62!