In the goal

It was a moment to be sure.

I reclined on the turf, elbows behind me, legs stretched out in front. I pushed my fingers into the rubber beads between the thin plastic blades of uniformly green grass, all one length. The black beads were warm from the sun. So were my bare shins. My eyes were shaded by a black baseball cap, but I could see everything clearly.


It was too warm for a May 1 evening in Matthews. And therefore perfect. Across the turf, I watched my son, Jake, in goal. His helmet hid his face, but I only need to see the way he stands, his movements, to recognize the new and improved me.

Behind Jake and the edge of the Tank Town Road athletic park stood a row of dense foliage and, beyond that, the sun bid a leisurely farewell as it journeyed east along its well-worn arc. On my side, the trees were the kind of dark green that is hard to distinguish from black. I could only guess the color on the sun’s side. Perhaps it matched the turf.

Between me and the sun was enough cloud cover to encourage a meandering gradient in the radiant warmth. Almost hot when the sun pierced through, almost cold when the clouds stood their ground, though neither held sway for long. The companion effect was lines of light, straight with diffuse edges, that originated at the sun and spread by perfect linear perspective. The lines rested, individually, on the trees, the turf, the goal, Jake, and me. As if by design.


I watched the other players pass and chase the impossibly hard, impossible small white rubber ball towards and away from Jake. Taken all together, I was so content, so joyful, that I could only smile my gratitude to God.

It was a moment to be sure.


About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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