Last Friday, it was sunny, breezy and buzzing with excitement at Cesar Chavez’s playground. The boys and girls decked out in the bright orange jersey of Cesar Chavez huddled at one end of the field, and the other boys and girls in the dark navy jersey of Anson Jones ran warm-up drills at the other end. Parents lined the freshly painted lines of the soccer field, setting up chairs under the shade of a big oak tree. Game Day had finally arrived. Maureen, our Program Coordinator, snapped pictures like the paparazzi capturing the excited and nervous faces of our poet-athletes. A little girl ran over to her, "Can I see the pictures?! Am I in one?"
Then Jarrod, our Americorps VISTA, blew the whistle, the coaches yelled instructions and soon the starting players were out on the field and the girls' game had begun! The ball bounced back and forth between the two goals and the girls ran and kicked their hearts out. A mom paced behind one of the goals shouting encouraging words at her daughter and a little brother ran up and down the side lines enthralled with the action. When the final whistle blew, all the girls and the coaches lined up to congratulate each other on a game well played.
The boys' game started with a flurry of excited yells and a stampede of boys running after the flying ball. One of the older boys from Anson Jones wove through Cesar Chavez's defense and sunk the ball into the back of the net, the crowd going wild. Victorious, he ran back to the center line, bent down on one knee and pointed to the sky like a true pro player in training. Cesar Chavez, unfazed, kicked-off again and continued to have fun playing their long awaited game of soccer.
Exhausted, the kids slowly left the huddle of their teammates to join their proud parents and go home, already anticipating the next Game Day.