AJ scored his first goal this Saturday. It was a monumental moment. He'd not really come close before, but the last three weeks, he's been playing with some new-found confidence. Like it finally clicked that he could play this game.
Naturally, it's coaching.
He'd had a couple chances prior, one which he hit with his handbag right at the 'keeper and the second that required a nice save. We were overrunning the other team and I'm prety sure that helped him. After our first goal, he got into a jawing match with one of the opposing players. That happens. Someone says something to AJ, he's forced by genetics to respond. Proud as I was, I'm also the even-keeled coach, so I yelled at him to "Zip it."
We're up 2-0 when it happens. Our star, who's scored both, goes streaking down the wing and sends a lovely ball into the center. AJ takes it well, deft first touch, and slots it home.
He's missing three teeth in the front of his face and a fourth is all askew and ready to go at any point. I'll never forget that big-ass gap-toothed grin he flashed at me. All the blood rushed to his face and, for the first time in his life, he was speechless. He just gaped. I gave him a fist pump as my eyes watered and then, still coaching, complimented the superstar on his pass. By the time AJ got to the midfield stripe, he'd found his voice. "Yes!" he shouted. "I scored a goal."
At the half, I scooped him up on his way off the field. Gave him a couple kisses and told him how proud I was.
He as over the moon all day. I let him choose somewhere to eat lunch and over fish tacos I asked him what was up with his tete a tete with the other kid early on. Apparently, the kid suggested his team was going to win, even after going down 1-nil. AJ begged to differ. I had noticed later that this same kid behaved in a rather spastic manner during the rest of the match. I mentioned this to my boy and he said, "Yeah, he was kind of," and he paused for the right word.
Jesus. The perfect word. Maybe my boy's a writer. Nah. Striker. Definitely a striker.