I had been working on a speech to give to the different civic and state organizations that bestow this prestigious award. Not knowing how much time I would be alloted, I was up to about 25-minutes. I went into great detail on how my parents, my Bible class teachers, school teachers, principals and other mentors had guided me in my upbringing. And I was looking forward to delivering this speech a crowd similar to that which gathers at the Vatican to be blessed by teh Pope.
But I don't think it'll be happening any time soon.
Last Saturday was Elijah's final soccer game....FINALLY! Not that I mind watching Elijah's games. On the contrary, his games are exciting. He's the best player on his team, and it gives me a considerable amount of pride to watch him play. (Yes, I know he's my son, but the kid DID score 11 goals in his final game).
The problem with his games is that he has two younger brothers. One, as I've mentioned before, is a high-maintenance two-year old (Noah) that we refer to as "Legion." The other is 8-weeks old (Jacob). Enough said?
This past Saturday we managed to load everyone up and take them out to Elijah's final display of athletic greatness. His games are out at the Abilene Soccer Complex...and what a complex it is! There's gotta be 20 fields out there - ranging in a variety of sizes - and every one of those fields is being used. So there's no telling how many kids and adults out there (Robin says there's
also no telling how many perverts and child molesters are out there as well).
In the first half of the game Noah did a fairly good job of staying close by. He would watch his brother's game for a moment, and then would wander over to one of the adult-size goals (approximately 9-feet tall) nearby and play in the net. Countless times I got him out of the net and told him to stay away from it or he would get hurt.
As I tuned back into Elijah's game, there was a pretty good flurry of activity so I stayed focussed on the game for a while. As it turned out I stayed focussed for too long of a while...for as I turned to find Noah, I saw him again playing in the net. Only this time he had climbed to the very top of the goal. I told Robin to look at what HER son was doing. So as I'm trying to get him down she snapped this lovely picture.
Sadly this picture does not capture my attempt to "rescue" Noah...nor does it capture the Administrator of the Big Country Soccer Association scolding me for letting my young hooligan climb on the nets. I managed to get Noah down...but only after he had climbed up and over the bar.
The second half brought much of the same. Me telling Noah to get down from the net; me telling Noah to stay off the field; me telling Noah to get his finger out of his nose; me telling Noah to get his finger out of MY nose; etc., etc.
Near the end of the game, young Jacob became tired of sitting in his seat. So while trying to control Noah and, at the same time, paying homage to the Caucasian answer to Pele, I am now attempting to settle an infant.
This cannot be done. Something had to give...and for some reason I turned my attention to the game and away from Noah.
This is the moment that the little bronze statue was taken from my grip.
I promise I was only watching for a handful of seconds...when the final whistle blew signifying the game was over. While Robin gathered up drinks, blankets, soccer balls, and other family items, I turned to gather up my rambunctious one...and he was nowhere to be found.
I turned to Robin. "Where's Noah," I asked? Her response was the expression only a panicked mother is capable of giving. I handed Jacob to her, and sprinted (a relative term) across several soccer fields (games in progress) to the entrance of the complex to see if he had wandered that way. The only thought running through my head was of a little girl in Plano that was abducted from a soccer complex in Plano years ago. She was later found dead.
I'm not ashamed to tell you that I was sobbing as I was running and calling Noah's name. I'm sure I looked like a moron, but I wasn't terribly interested in how I appeared at that point.
After what seemed like 10-minutes of this, my cell phone rang. It was Robin - she had found Noah. An older sister of one of Elijah's teammates had taken Noah to get something to drink. How nice! HOW 'BOUT LETTING HIS PARENTS KNOW NEXT TIME!!!
In closing let me apologize to those of you who had high hopes for Robin and I to win this coveted award. We've let you down...and we feel just awful about it.