Letter To My Son, To Be Read When I'm Dead
I got mad watching you play soccer this morning. You weren’t aggressive. You didn’t hustle. Seem to avoid contact. Your heart wasn’t on fire. When you were open and the boys didn’t feed you the ball you accepted it passively. You didn’t fight. Where was your rage? Why wasn’t your heart glowing like spilt lava all over the field? I know I’m exaggerating. It wasn’t all bad. I’m being unfair. The second half was better. But by then I’d already soured. When I played I was a tempest of rage. I fought like a cornered animal. Everything dark and angry and suppressed came out then. The short jokes. The missing dad. The broken home. The little scrapper. The pitch was the place where it could all burst forth. I didn’t have to accede to the puniness of existence. Every ball was mine, if I wanted it bad enough. All those yellow cards. The goals were an afterthought.
I just don’t want to see you fail. I found a way to not fail. Try harder. Leave everything you have behind. Make your muscles and bones wail. Let the mind numb. The world won’t care one way or another. The world shrugs with indifference to your fate. And when you’ve given all you have, you will too. Failures will taste as sweet as champagne from trophies. Or it won't matter how it tastes. You just need something to drink. You’d lap from a puddle like a dog. Because you’ve spent all you had.
But I’m just a dumb old man. Empty words from a frustrated dad.. Take it for what it’s worth. My way is not for you. You do it different. Better than me. You played well that second half, I was too distracted to see. Subtle touches. My smooth, cool boy. The diagonal passes. The clever turn. Two steps ahead of the flow. You see the field in ways I never did. I missed the beauty of the game being angry all the time. All I saw was red. With nothing but green opening up in front of me.