The home team scored three goals in the second half, right in front of our seats. It was one of those novel sports spectator experiences: you’re so close you can smell the grass and hear the stomping of players’ cleats on it. And everything goes right.
Of course, I was in the car driving home already. Kiddo started pleading to go home barely 15 minutes into the game, and not even halftime Dippin’ Dots were enough to placate her past the first five minutes of the second half. She’d returned from a six day trip that morning, and the fatigue was catching up to her. So we left. It was an easy call.
She almost didn’t come. It was almost me and a buddy. “I want to go, but I’m too tired,” she’d said in the afternoon, and I was fine with that. There was rain forecast anyway, and I seriously doubted how much she would enjoy a professional soccer game. I would have seen the second half goals then. My buddy and I would talk for weeks about having been there. But as I was leaving Kiddo rallied and proclaimed her intention to attend, and I was glad for it.
The three of us tailgated with some sausages, chips, and cookies I brought. My buddy and I leaned against the trunk of his Accord while Kiddo entertained herself digging rocks out of the dirt parking lot surface.
That’s the image that will stay with me from the experience. Not the goals or the cheering crowd, but Kiddo kneeling in mud, sausage and roll in one hand, prize white rock held aloft by the other, beaming from her dirt-streaked face.