The park was busy that particular day. The field was filled with children playing soccer. It wasn't the time I normally liked to walk my dog and old pal, Whitey, but the shouts of laughter drew me toward the field. Whitey plopped down beside me with a resigned sigh as I stood to watch the action on the soccer field for a bit. Just then I took notice of the bustle of activity to my right. A cloud of dust surrounded his black sneakers as the skinny boy danced from foot to foot. By his height he looked to be about twelve years old.


"It's okay, they've got two points but we'll make a hundred!" he shouted out to no one in particular.


He shimmied and then moon-danced toward a pine tree where he jumped up to grab a needle from the low hanging branch. His giant oversized black shorts which reached below his knees swirled as he spun around and around. He was a picture of constant movement. Suddenly he halted. His blue eyes narrowed as he spotted a styrofoam cup. He crouched and sprung in the air, his hair flying up and above his head like a wild golden spray of wheat. He landed and the cup was history.


"John, you're left wind. Get in there."


With a flail of his arms to propel himself forward he charged onto the field, his cheeks so ruddy that his red shirt looked pink.


"Wing man, stay back. Cover your territory."


He leapt into action jumping left, then right, then left again. The ball flew toward him. He pressed his full rosy lips together and scowled with determination. He pulled his dirty scruffed leg back then forward to strike the ball. It zoomed up high and straight.


"No, No! John! Stop!"


John planted his feet to halt and turned, his hair slowly following to settle neatly about his face. He looked toward the screaming voice on the sideline while a dark-haired boy in a white shirt raced past him to kick the ball.


John raised his hand up in the air and smacked his forehead.


"Doh! That's not my goal," he wailed. He then ducked his head and started to race toward the fleeing soccer ball. In spite of the fact that his limbs moved in all crazy directions he was fast and quickly caught his prey. His foot hooked around his opponent's leg.




The small but stocky boy in his spotless white uniform stumbled and landed in a flying heap of dirt.


"Owwww!" cried the boy as he grabbed his shim and rolled about the ground.


"Foul!" cried the referee.


"Are you okay?" exclaimed John as he placed his arm over the boy's shoulder.


"Yeah, I guess," he replied.


John offered him a hand up and then danced off in the direction of the ball.


"Stay in position left wing," shouted a deep voice near where Whitey and I were watching in mesmerized silence.


John lifted his head and darted off down the field in a new direction. His mouth spread wide into a bright toothless grin.


"Don't worry," he yelled to his coach as he flew past, "I'm on the ball! We're gonna win by a zillion!"


With that Whitey sat up and let out a howl of support and we slowly walked off toward the trees and the duck pond. My slow-waddling old bulldog and I had no doubt that the little towhead in the giant-sized soccer uniform with the gummy smile would eventually find the right goal and help his team win by a mile.



The Plan