Last night at soccer practice, a ring of cones appeared by my equipment bag that looked something like this picture.
“Woah, what’s that? A battle ring?”
“Who arranged the cones like that?”
“It looks like a protective circle or something.”
“Tim must have done that. Hey, look what Tim did.”
I ignored them: “hey, could you pick those up for me and put them in my bag?”
“Ooo, yuck, is there bug spray on these? There’s bug spray on these.”
I said, “no, that’s impossible. He wouldn’t have wasted bug spray on them.”
But, he had.
I was trying to get my Under-10 boys to work on cooperating on offense to move the ball to the goal and “shift the points of attack.” That means: don’t dribble the ball as far toward the goal as you can until you run into two defenders who take the ball away from you. How about before you get into trouble: pass, then run to the middle, and you, teammate, you cross the ball in front of the net.
Some were getting the hang of it, but Jabbar, the biggest kid, likes to get as close as he can to the goal, wind up (stutter step, giving plenty of time for someone to take it away), and smash it into the net. Our rookie goalie, Tim, bravely went for the rocketing ball, hit from 6 feet away He lay still on the ground. You know what it means in any sport when you see a player lying motionless. I got there in split seconds. His teammates had gotten there faster and were all peering over him.
Happily, for all of us involved, Tim was not mortally wounded. His hand had been turned back at the wrist. He was lying face down, crying. I asked the team to give him some breathing room, then escorted him to my bag and set him up with an ice pack. My bug spray was lying on the ground because the mosquitoes on that field are vicious.
Apparently, while we weren’t looking, Tim arranged the cones in a tight circle around him, sprayed them down with bug spray, and crouched down within his bug barrier. Of course none of the kids would identify it as such, but it looked like a mystical fairy ring to me.
When we got home, I rinsed them all off, and asked my son to carry the cones to the porch to dry off. This morning, the light through the clouds created stunning contrast. There my porch cones will stay, until the next practice.