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Soccer: It’s All The Buzz

By Wyatt Earp | September 19, 2010

My six-year old son Erik started his Fall soccer season last weekend. I was working for the opener, so yesterday was the first chance I got to see him play. (Kyle, the 9-year old, plays year-round.) Erik landed an assist in the first game, and the missus said he played very well. We were worried because his interest in the sport was lukewarm at best last season, but hockey did wonders for him. Scoring goals over the summer gave him confidence, and he carried that over to soccer.

This week was a challenge because he was really sick. He missed practice on Wednesday night and was still congested yesterday. Erik’s coach – Tony, a great guy – put him in goal so he wasn’t running so much. He played for the entire first half and gave up one goal, coming out at the break with a 4-1 lead.

In the second half, the coach put him at defense. Now, “defense” to a bunch of 6-year olds is usually just running wherever you want. Both teams looked like a swarm of bees following the ball. To his credit, though, Erik got back to play defense when the coach told him, and after a few minutes he gave him a break. Erik comes over to me and takes a drink from his water bottle.

Then it happened.

He grabbed his knee and started screaming. I said, “What’s wrong?” He said a bee stung him. Now, I thought he was exaggerating because I didn’t notice any bees at the field at the time. I took a look, and there, just to the left of his kneecap was a red circle. Frakkin’ bee got him pretty good. The tears started flowing, and he was moaning, “I want to go home!” The coach’s wife came over and looked at it with me. Neither of us saw the stinger, so that was good news. She told me that if I wanted to take him home, that was okay with her, but I didn’t want to do that yet. His leg wasn’t swelling up, and he looked okay – except for the tears.

So, I talked to him. I said, “Erik, I know you’re in a lot of pain, but the stinger is gone and the bee is probably dead. Why don’t you at least try to go out there and see if you can play. If it hurts too much, I’ll take you right home, okay?”

He looked at me and I could see he was wavering, so I threw out the clincher: “Besides, coach has chips and a drink for after the game, so . . . “

He smiled through the tears and said, “Okay, put me in!”

I told the coach’s wife, and she looked at me like I was insane. She called for a substitution and sent Erik in, even though we both thought he would be in for a minute or two before coming out. What happened next amazed the hell out of us. Immediately after going in, Erik stole the ball and went in on a breakaway. He missed the shot, but he seemed to be playing better than he was earlier. At my count, he had nine more shots on goal. He was stealing balls, beating opponents to the goal, and out-hustling most of the kids on the field. I couldn’t believe it.

One of the parents said Erik looked like Landon Donovan out there. He had two more breakaways, and kept shooting when the ball came to him. Finally, after taking a perfect pass from Sabrina, one of his female teammates, he put the ball home for the score. He ran the length of the field with his arms outstretched (the airplane) as Sabrina was chasing him for a high five. His was the last goal of the game, and his team won, 7-1.

After the game, I told him how proud I was of his effort, especially coming back after the bee sting. Erik’s coach overheard me, and said, “Erik was stung by a bee?” He didn’t know. Erik wouldn’t tell him.

Topics: Soccer, The Boys | 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “Soccer: It’s All The Buzz”

  1. Rick Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Thankfully he is not allergic to bee stings

  2. Aunt Noreen Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    He’s a tough little kid. He must have really wanted that soda and chips after the game.
    Go Erik!!!
    aunt noreen

  3. Robert B. Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Way to go Erik!!! And way to go Wyatt, for being such a great Dad. Too many times parents are too busy, too tired, or too disinterested in spending time with their kids. It is nice to hear of someone of your calibre (get it?) making their son’s day. No doubt Erik will do the same when he becomes a proud papa.

  4. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Rick – Yeah, he was stung last year and we didn’t have any problems.

    Aunt Noreen – Thanks. He wanted the chips, but he likes playing. I think the competitiveness won over.

    Robert B. – I was worried I would look like a tool for trying to get him back in the game instead of babying him. I’m glad I asked him to stay. He played very well afterward.

  5. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    This sounds a lot like the story of Peter Parker, except with a bee. Erik got stung and has soccer super powers. The cool thing is that instead of shooting webs in his room, he’ll make honey. Can I borrow him for a weekend?

  6. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Mrs. Crankipants – We could probably work out a rental agreement that benefits both parties. :)

  7. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Draw up the paperwork, a tough kid like that will do well in my neighborhood.

    Damn, the name Yellow Jacket has already been taken. Bee Boy perhaps?

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Mrs. Crankipants – Well, Bee Girl is that chick from the Blind Melon video, so maybe Bee Boy will work.

  9. bob (either orr) Says:
    September 19th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    King of Sting, perhaps?

  10. realwest Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 1:26 am

    Howdy, Wyatt! That is a truly cool story. Hell if I’D been stung by a bee, NOTHING would keep me playing, well, ok, maybe a sixpack and a pizza after the game!

  11. Ralph Short Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Great story, Wyatt, and great playing by your son.

  12. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 20th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Bob – Sultan of Swat(ting)

    Real – Yeah, I would be running around crying for my mommy. And that would be if it happened today!

    Ralph – Thanks. He’s a good kid, and damned tough.