What is soccer practice? Like writing – or nearly anything else worth doing – it is all about focusing the mind. I find that I can always learn something new by stopping and observing something so simple and sweet right outside my window. This is a very short story about a boy and his dog enjoying their soccer practice.
A boy and his dog guzzle from a backyard hose on a humid summer’s eve. Dripping chins and chests are ready for another game. With the top of his foot and intense concentration, the boy kicks with precision. The black-and-white orb rises. Up-up-up it soars into a sea of blue and then descends. A comet, it crashes into the ground bouncing once before the dog attacks. With murderous eye, the dog sinks her canines into the smooth layers of polyester. Shredding skin with precision, she refuses to release her kill. The boy wants to kick some more and gently pries open her reluctant jaws. The ball is free. And so it goes: Soccer practice. Again and again for many minutes. Eventually the boy tires and goes inside. The weary dog trots behind the boy. While he showers, the dog cools her belly on the kitchen tile. Her tongue, pink like ham exposed. Hot breath and heaving chest mark the end of soccer practice.