Wednesday evening, October 13, 2010
FLD Gus is the unofficial mascot of my niece Natalie's U10 (under 10 years-of-age) soccer team, the Cheeto Crunchers, but this is the first game he is attending of Elaina's U14 team. Team Dynamite is undefeated. I hope our attendance tonight doesn't jinx them!
FLD Gus "parks" and I crouch to tie on his "Future Leader Dog" bandana so he can get to work. His neck is almost thick enough to not have to loop the ends of the bandana twice around his neck. Almost, but not quite, and I struggle to knot the ends.
We can't see the field from the parking lot, but it is just beyond the park building and a stand of fir trees. I'm glad we have about 20 minutes before the whistle blows to start the game. FLD Gus is eager to follow Elaina as she hustles to join the Dynamites and I'm doing more backwards walking than forwards walking!
Elaina says, "I like playing in the rain more than in the sun." Good thing. The sky darkens and the light rain turns steady as the Dynamite girls, in vivid orange jerseys, line up against the screaming-yellow jerseys of their competition. Dynamite supporters huddle beneath the team's pop-up shelter or under umbrellas along the sidelines.
Andy and I each have an umbrella, but FLD Gus isn't sure about the rain. He sits as close as he can to my leg, but he's still getting wet.
"Let's go under the tent," Andy suggests, and he donates his umbrella to a Dynamite-mom. FLD Gus is much happier here; he busies himself sniffing and chewing the grass. I busy myself keeping my fingers out of the way as I try to get him to chew his Nylabone instead. Meanwhile, the Dynamites find themselves losing 2-0. "I detected a bit of over-confidence from Elaina on the drive over here," Andy says.
At halftime, I open my umbrella and move FLD Gus out of the protection of the pop-up to give the Dynamites room with their coach, but he makes them stand in the rain for his "pep-talk." As I turn to return to the shelter, Gus suddenly discovers the heavy raindrops dripping from my umbrella. Looking up, he blinks and snaps with clicking-clacking teeth to catch them.
The Dynamites explode the second half of the game, dominating with four unanswered goals. The rain ends just as the game ends. Sodden orange-clad soccer-girls race by our spectator line for slippery high-fives--still undefeated!
FLD Gus is a bit hit with the team, as usual. "Can we pet your puppy?" They always ask, informed. Sometimes I worry that the girls' coaches will forbid our presence at games. A black, fuzzy puppy wrapped in a blue bandana can be a bit of a distraction!
|FLD Gus in his "Future Leader Dog" bandana, by pumpkins!|