The Hidden Pitch

Last night I asked my daughter, Jessy, for a topic to blog about.

“Write about that Montreal player. And all the other players who took a knee when he was injured.”

“I’m not writing about that!”

~

Tonight I was sitting in my car enjoying the cool evening breeze coming in from the moon roof. I was sorta watching soccer practice, sorta catching up on my twitter feed, and sorta reading Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behavior. But mostly, I was enjoying the breeze. The sky was overcast yet not threatening rain, just filled with sleepy-hollow shadow. I allowed my imagination wander.

Then, the ambulance arrived.

On one of the fields out of site from where I was sitting, from where my daughter’s U-14 competitive team was practicing, was the adult men’s team. They were tucked in behind the open skating oval. As the EMTs ran around the green partitions and disappeared onto the hidden pitch, we all stopped breathing. For a while no one knew exactly what to do.

Go see. Keep reading. Worry. Breathe. Play on.

The wind kept blowing.

The technical director left the girls with their coach and walked over. Others too began to walk towards the hidden pitch. I got out of my car and stood underneath one of the pine trees edging the field.

Jess’s coach when she was 4, 5 and 6 years old was playing on that hidden field. One of those gems-of-the-education-world was over there too. I zipped up my hoodie.

I think, I’ve been zippy my hoodie for a long time. The memories wrapping around me like a down duvet.

I think, all of us zip hoodies more than we know; we all share these good, rooted stories. And tonight, like an anchor pulled tight, memories came rushing back.

And you know, I’m not even certain why.

How would Jess manage loosing another person in her life? How would I manage to watch? Could we manage?

Oh, I love my girl. And that’s my anchor. My unbreakable, beautiful anchor; my girl.

Sometimes I wonder if Jess zips her worry for me so tightly because I’ve been zipping all these years… And that makes even the wind sting.

That’s why it’s impossible to step onto the pitch with indifference, that’s why the world stops breathing.

But the pause is a good thing too because feeling is such a positive. See Jess is right. When that Montreal player went down on Saturday, many of the players on their knees were Saskatchewan players and, too, there were all of us in the stands very much aware, and deeply connected. I am part of those players on their knees, the unconscious player, the family somewhere, worried.  We are so much more than a player, a game, a life; we are every one of the connections we find on our hidden pitch.

And together we are a wonderful, beautiful, anchored space.

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