As a contributor to the premiere issue of Bella Grace, I have been invited to participate in a blog hop. I have posted an essay based on the magazine's theme: Life is a Beautiful Adventure.Visit the publisher's blog at stampington.com/blog. Scroll to the bottom of their page to see additional bloggers participating in the hop. **Enter to win this issue of Bella Grace. Simply click on the red comment link at the end of the post and leave your answer to the following question: Who has been an unexpected teacher in your life?
And now I present...
The Beautiful Game
“Mama. Agua. Rapido!” I watch as a mother breaks from a group of parents, races across the soccer field, and squirts water into the mouth issuing this command. A 12-year-old hot shot has come to play with an entourage and a full grown ego. Welcome to suburban soccer. I am an artist. I am not an athlete. In grade school, I was picked last for kick ball. After becoming a mother, I swore I would not be a soccer mom, and I certainly wouldn’t ride around in a mini van laden with magnets proclaiming the achievements of my child. It’s just not my thing. I’ve managed to avoid the mini van, but soccer is another story. Even though I let my son draw on my walls with washable crayons and taught him about Picasso and Van Gogh, a different passion grew within him. Soccer. God was playing a cruel trick. The game was a mystery to me. I would scold him after a good slide tackle declaring it too aggressive. I would worry when cold winds whipped across the field biting through his nylon shorts or driving rains soaked him down to his underwear. All the while I watched from my warm car, sipped coffee, and listened to NPR. I kept thinking this was a passing phase, but his love for the game poured out of him like sweat. I kept taking him to games, and the seasons kept passing.
When Zach was eleven, it was the year of the FIFA World Cup. I thought FIFA was a type of poodle. By now, he knew teams and players from all over the world resulting in geographical knowledge that far surpassed mine. During the World Cup, he’d wake each morning, don an Uncle Sam hat, a USA jersey, and hold an American flag — properly decorated to watch each game.
Then came the turning point. America won, allowing them to advance.
I was sitting out in the backyard, when a red, white, and blue firecracker burst from the house and streaked across the lawn. It was Zach taking a victory lap — head back, arms extended, flag still in hand. Pure joy. I caught a glimpse of a tear in his eye as he ran past me. I finally understood. Soccer was his religion. It was his spirituality. Over the next four years, Zach counted down to FIFA 2014 and I counted on him to educate me. I knew understanding soccer would lead to understanding my son, so I peppered him with questions. I learned that a slide tackle (that was all ball) was celebrated, not frowned upon, what it means to be off sides, and the difference between a yellow and a red card. Then one day, he hit me with something profound. Zach spoke of the Brazilians referring to soccer as “o jogo bonito” — The Beautiful Game. The phrase captures the spirit and art of a series of thoughtfully executed passes leading up to a goal. Winning the game was not enough. It was to be done with skill and beauty. In that moment, Zachary built a bridge for me between art and soccer and I crossed over gladly.
I knew I had come full circle when I sat by myself on a Thursday afternoon watching America vs. Germany in the 2014 World Cup, praying that I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom and risk missing a goal. Zachary is my son and my teacher. As an artist, I look for beauty in the ordinary. As an athlete, Zach taught me to see beauty in a game.
Now it's your turn to write!
Answer the following question and you will be entered to win the premiere issue of Bella Grace magazine. Q: Who has been an unexpected teacher in your life?
1- Click on "comment" at the bottom of this post. 2- Type your answer in the box. 3- Select a choice from "comment as" ("anonymous" always works, but make sure to include an e-mail address so I can notify the winner and get a shipping address). 4- Click on the blue publish button. If you have trouble entering your answer, you can e-mail me your enter to email@example.com
My journals. Books that hold me in their pages. They are my best friends. Guardians of my thoughts. They always listen.
After reading "The Artist's Way," I started journaling in an attempt to connect with my creative self.
I feel safe in their lined pages. I dream. I weep. I worry.
I return day after day to the one place that is free from judgement.
I am accepted. I am heard.
I write when I feel moved to do so. Not every day, but often. Entries evolve into poems. Sketches blossom into paintings. Thoughts grow up to be essays.
I started sharing these essays with my husband. Mostly, I would read them out loud to myself. I woke to a new beauty — the spoken word.
I wanted to share my stories, but who would treasure them the way my journals did? There they were safely tucked away.
I grew restless. I wanted more. I began submitting essays for publication and one took root. My essay "Finding Home" appears on page 137 of Bella Grace magazine. Now my thoughts are held in their pages. Pages held in the hands of people I have never met.
My inner self is out, and yet — somehow — I still feel safe.
***YOU ARE INVITED to return to my blog this Wednesday, August 27th, for my first BLOG HOP.Bella Grace magazine has invited me to participate in a blog hop. I will be sharing an essay based on their theme, "Life is a beautiful adventure." Anyone who comments on my blog that day will be entered to win a free issue of Bella Grace. In addition, I will post links to the blogs of other authors who have contributed to their magazine. It will be a fun way to hop from blog to blog!