The Soccer Team
"We have something very important to discuss," I tell the sweaty, red-faced shorties on my soccer team.
"Guys! Come on in! I need you to listen for a couple minutes!"
"Please take your soccer balls out of your shirts! We're not playing the "Mommy's Knocked Up Again" game right now. We'll play that later."
"This is important. We need a team name."
"How about The Stripes?" a towering 6 year old says.
"Yeah, The Stripes," seconds another.
Unimpressed with their creativity, I ask, "does anyone like Star Wars?"
Charlie's fingertips touch the clouds.
"How about the R2s?" Charlie says, the excitement building in his voice.
I sell the R2s (R2-D2s) to the rest of the team, going way over the top with how cool a name it is. Most are onboard, but one kid isn't going for it.
"Don't you like Star Wars?"
"Do you like robots?"
"George Lucas's not so subtle thematic reference to Nazi Germany?"
"Well, what do you like?"
"I like rocket ships," the sunburned boy says with a lisp.
"OK boys, we're the R2-D2s!"
OK, so I rigged the vote. Not the most democratic process, but tough. My kid is out there lugging a pump around his waist, stopping for fun "blood breaks" and hauling ass at 414 mg/dl. I'm the coach. If Charlie wants to be the R2s, then dammit, the R2s it is.
This was my first real experience testing Charlie in front of a group of kids his own age. I was amazed by their reaction. They crowded around us like we were giving away ice cream – firing off question after question. They were fascinated.
"Whoa, cool! What's that thing? What's that? Does that hurt? Why are doing that? What's that tube? Whoa, you're brave!"
Even more amazing was that Charlie wasn't embarrassed nor did he feel the need to conceal his pump from the curious crowd. It's one of those moments as a parent when as much as you know your own kid, you just don't know which way it's going to go. Phew! He actually loved the attention.
At half-time, Charlie - normally painfully shy - yelled out, "Hey! Anyone wanna see me get tested?"