And that’s how I got an eye-patch.

6 Apr

Growing up, I thought I was fairly athletic. I might not have been the FIRST person chosen in a game of kickball, but I was definitely closer to the beginning than the end. At least, I don’t remember ever having to nervously kick at the dirt wishing I were invisible.

Two great things about being an adult are that a) you never have to worry about being THE LAST PERSON CHOSEN for anything, and b) thanks to Oprah, you can always find someone less in shape than you trying to perform an athletic feat. (Seriously, google “oprah marathon stories” and you’ll feel like a turd for not being able to run 26 miles if you weigh under 300 lbs.)

And even so, this weekend I was reminded of just how old and uncoordinated I am, because my nephew somehow managed to draw three generations of my family into a soccer match in my parents’ front yard.

Other than ping-pong or cards, I can’t remember the last time my family dove into a competitive venture together. It was nothing short of miraculous that my nephew’s ball handling skills (please skip the joke) coaxed the rest of us off the sidelines and into a heated game of what started as keep away and ended as soccer.

To a spectator, it probably would’ve been obvious that none of us were overly familiar with the rules, strategy or basic skills associated with the game. We chased the ball like the tail of a comet and often yelped with excitement to find that somehow the ball was in our possession. Even so, we are a competitive lot, so despite our lack of knowledge, we brought a certain passion to the field.

This passion proved disastrous when parents collided in front of the goal as my dad tried to score on my mom. (Again, let’s skip the obvious joke.) That run-in ended with my dad bleeding and his glasses broken.

Not five minutes later, seeing a gap and trying to pounce on it, my dad wound up, kicked the ball and drilled it with all the force of a hammer straight into my throat. My teeth slammed together and the wind left my lungs. I had flashbacks to the time in third grade when I was pitching whiffle balls to my dad and he produced a line drive that split my lip open. (For the record, my dad is not violent – he just seems to have an uncanny knack for connecting with the ball when I happen to be in its path.)

I tried to find my voice to reassure everyone I was fine, but all I could feel was the tingle of a circular patch on my chin. And just like that – our fun, tri-generational soccer match was over. We decided to quit while we were ahead, and shift to another activity where people couldn’t get hurt.

The other activity? An obstacle course designed by my mom that looked like a SEAL training mission and included a plank walk and marksmanship. Really? For a group that had to end an innocent soccer match because we managed to maim ourselves, was riflery really such a great idea?

Now, with a few days between me and the soccer match, I’m sore from sprinting but my neck has no lingering signs of abuse. Instead, I’m warmed by the memory of hustling with my family and looking forward to my next trip home for the Family Reunion. Maybe that’ll give mom enough time to find the Jart set or sharpen knives for a throwing contest. I’ll just have to remember to pack some goggles.

One Response to “And that’s how I got an eye-patch.”

  1. Linda April 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    You are HILARIOUS! After this job, you must think about writing comedy for a living! Thanks for the much needed “belly laughs”! Say “hi”to your parents for me, please!

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