It seemed so long ago, yet only yesterday that he was barely walking. A few moments later he began to run, and now he runs with others, trying to find his place. The game is tense. So often I have pushed him too hard and tried to motivate him. Attempting to show him what he could be, and the things I saw him capable of, while not realizing at the time that all that had to come from inside. He ran again and again, his patient ways work against him now. Again he is thwarted, the ball taken from him as he allows another their chance. His mind is in turmoil and I feel for him, knowing that I cannot fix it this time. It has to come from somewhere he has not touched, somewhere I am sure is deep inside.
He looks at me, and I encourage from where I am. I try to be supportive but realize that if I push to hard he may break. Again he tries. Strength from inside develops before my eyes. Seeing it grow within him I start to smile and my stance tightens. His thin wiry legs propel him forward again. This time his coordination wins out. He pulls away, his concentration evident on a tightly worn brow. Though tense he seems under no strain as he runs behind the ball, guiding it with deft movements others can only dream of. His eyes look forward to his quarry, the last obstacle in his new beginning. He slides easily to the side as my heart races. To me it is a slow moment that seems never to end, his body sliding from side to side as his legs race beneath him. The cheers are deafening but I hear only the sound of my heart and seem to feel the pulsing of his. He moves forward, eyes glaring with a new determination born of the competitive spirit now struggling to become a part of him. He pushes forward, a quick lunge as his tendons flex and force the ball forward with unrealistic speed. Time stands still as the ball passes through the air and his quarry, desperate in his own way, struggles to outrun it. I can imagine sparks flying as the ball races forward and flies to its mark, passing by the net and the quarry to become his first goal.
He looks towards my wife and I and smiles. He has crossed over the threshold of uncertainty. Now and forevermore it will never be so hard again as it was this time. Though his doubts may tug and pull at him they will never again keep him from his goals. Looking forward he moves on, searching for the next point. I know now, deep in my heart, that soon he will understand, and each time will be easier than the last. I know that now, at least a little, he has moved forward to a new level and perhaps he will be able to set his own goals, not mine, and make them all.