Boy-child had a soccer tournament this weekend. His team was scheduled for two games on Saturday and one on Sunday.
The first game on Saturday, they won. Tremendously. They were ecstatic.
The second game on Saturday, they lost. Tremendously. It was painful. They were outcoached by the other team, the Green Meanies, who had these killer-instinct kids led by a drill sergeant who barked out mysterious commands…”Blue Pickle!” “Right Scamp!” Stuff I wasn’t used to hearing on the soccer field. The kids were like graceful "I Robots", doing as programmed, kicking our asses and not bothering to take our names. Afterwards, our boys were crushed, but we tried to console them with ‘Atta-Boys’ and dinner out.
Sunday morning we arrived at the soccer fields to find the Grean Meanies playing for (and winning) a trip to the Finals. We watched them, their beady-eyed coach blustering with arms crossed, their sole girl player setting the opposing team’s boys on edge (you don’t hit a girl, right?), and barking out those commands…”Seven Flapjack!” “Half Donut!” The Green Meanies celebrated their win stoically, walking in single file, their matching soccer bags over the same shoulders, in a straight line, fairly goose-stepping to the coach’s command. Our parents all agreed…that team was well-coached. But we wouldn’t want him as OUR coach.
We waited for our Sunday game. Our opponents? They never showed.
Which means we won by default, but it was still somewhat unsatisfying. Rather than waste precious field time, they decided to play “Kids Against Parents” in a scrimmage. It was a blissful tie.
Afterward, Girl-child and I walked through the parking lot to my car, talking about meeting dad for lunch, about Boy-child going to a friends’ house, and maybe we girls going Halloween costume shopping. Two car spaces from mine I saw a familiar object on the ground…folded black leather, pocket-sized. It was a man’s wallet. I looked around for someone, anyone, who may have just dropped it, but we were alone in that end of the lot. I threw our gear in the car and retrieved the wallet, tentatively opening it. The drivers license in the front had the photo of a man…broad face, beady eyes, shortish blondish hair…it looked like the coach of the Green Meanies, who had left an hour before. The more I looked at the picture, the more I was convinced it was his.
“Let’s turn this in”, I told Girl-child, and we crossed the lot back to the fields, looking for the man. Girl-child was concerned, nearly crying. “I hope we find him,” she said, her empathy for Lost Things bubbling up in her magnificent heart. “If we don’t find him, we can give the wallet to one of the tournament organizers”, I said, knowing that the chances of me finding the guy were pretty low. We walked around a few minutes, finding neither The Man nor a tournament worker. We stood in the damp air, Girl-child clutching my hand, the shouts of huzzahs coming from the games in progress, until we saw the green Soccer Tournament shirt of someone who could help. I turned the wallet over to her, which seemed a shocking gesture to her, as she was simply prepared to usher teams to their fields and keep track of score. She gushed “Thanks”, and Girl-child and I got in the car to meet Sergei for lunch.
I hope the man got his wallet back. I hope he understands that, no matter where you are, you should always do the right thing. I hope he gives those kids on his team a good pat on the back, a genuine smile, and a heart-felt “Atta-Boy”.