Soccer Shame

by Chad W. Lutz

When I was in the second grade, I went to a University of Akron men’s soccer game and sat in the bleachers. I was with my friend, Greg, his brother, John, and their mom, Debbie. Around the end of the first half, Greg and I get hungry and ask for money for food. Debbie gives us a five-dollar bill and excuses us down the aisle.

The University of Akron soccer stadium sits in a field with bleachers on either side. The front row regularly gets hit with balls. Balls flying all over the place. And what’s fun is that kids would retrieve and return the balls. It looked cool. I wanted to be cool. So, I went for a ball, but it was still in play.

The ball had gone out of bounds and another person had retrieved the ball and thrown it back to the referee. The referee then placed the ball in the corner for a corner kick, unbeknownst to me, someone unfamiliar with NCAA rules and regulations. I ran right up to the ball and kicked it toward the nearest player. I hear someone shout, “Hey, kid!” and it’s the referee behind me. I don’t waste any time and dart into the crowds near the concession stands. 

People laughed. Greg tells me not to worry about it, but people laughed. Lots of people. Loud enough to drown out the PA.

When we get back to our seats, Greg and I hand his mother the remaining $1.17 and unwrap our boiled hotdogs, but before I can take a bite, Debbie makes a snide comment about how I should have known it was in play and a bunch of people sitting nearby overheard and laughed more. I was all of eight year’s old. 

Chad W. Lutz is a speedy, bi-polar, non-binary writer born in Akron, Ohio, in 1986, and raised in the neighboring suburb of Stow. They graduated from Kent State University with their BA in English in 2008 and from Mills College in Oakland, California, with their MFA in Creative Writing in 2018. Their first book, For the Time Being (2020), is currently available through J.New Books.

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