The Peep and I went to the U.S. Open Cup match tonight at University of Portland's Merlo Field.That doesn't sound like a great event, until you looked up at the lowering sky and felt the cold wind whip the rain down the back of your neck. It was a nasty night, a night for true supporters only, and I wasn't sure if the Boy was really ready for all that the match would entail. My bride, whose passion for soccer is of a passionately tepid nature, eagerly passed the ticket I intended for her to our son. I was a bit nervous. Would he be enough of a true supporter to brave the cold and rain for two hours?
He was.He stood with the Timbers Army and cheered the team, cursed the gormless linesman, jeered at the visiting Chivas USA thuggery. He drank a ginormous soda pop and ate a third of a hot dog, and ran about in the rain, staring up at the sky.
"They're like little snowdrops!" he commented at the fine rainy mist sheeting through the field lights. He was right; they were like small snowflakes twisting in the night wind.
He kept hoping and cheering all through the long, scoreless match until the 84th minute when Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury put us up 1-0, and again two minutes later when defender Eric Brunner made it 2-0.And then he hopped in puddles and skipped home through the shining streets, talking about everything we had seen and done, marveling at the shiny white gravel and the lost lacrosse ball he found, tumbled into the house with happy babble, and then into bed with yawning cheerfulness.
It seems that he is following the drumbeat of his dad's passion for the Beautiful Game. That gives me a small, secret smile; I don't know if I've ever passed one of my affections on to him before.
I came in to "check on him" to find him lying back still awake. He told me a very odd little story he had created from an incident from the televised game we watched two weeks ago, and then gave me a hug.
I hugged him back and kissed his soft, little-boy-smelling hair, and tucked his fleece blanket more tightly around him, and with that left him to running fleetly on the floodlit night pitch, the stormwater flying from his boots as he ran on to score the limitless goals that seven-and-a-half can gift you in your dreams.