Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Tripleheader

That's what Eli 11.2 looked like when I picked him up from school last week. Art class will never be the same.

Eli had two flag football games last Friday, plus he was in goal at 7:15 Saturday morning for his first league game of the season. We called it "the tripleheader."

As you know, he's been frustrated that he hasn't been getting any touches in flag football, so when they did actually throw him a pass in the first game, I was just hoping he wouldn't drop it. He didn't, and he got to the sideline and took off (they were on their own 10). Three guys thought they had an angle on him.

They were wrong.

He cruised into the end zone, and boy, did he look happy. He was targeted for one more pass in that game (another touchdown). The other team went 0-5 when passing into his zone.

In the second game, he defensed five more passes, had one pass thrown his way (caught it for an extra point), and had the time of his life. The game was on an actual high school field that they had marked down (in his league, the field is 80 yards long), and when it got dark, they turned the lights on. "Friday Night Flag Football Lights," I said to the other parents. Plus there was another high school right next to where they were playing, and that school was having their homecoming game, so there was a full band playing, too.

"Two wins in the tripleheader," Eli said as he walked off the field after the second game. It was almost 8:00.

"One more for the sweep," I said.

In his house hockey league this year, the Peewees (11-12) and Bantams (13-14) combined to form four teams. The Bantams can't check, but they're faster and stronger, which is great for the Peewees, because it makes them work harder.

None of the Bantams had ever seen Eli play, at least not in a game, and I think the other team thought he was an easy mark, because he's so small compared to the other goalies.

Once again, they were wrong.

Eli's team was outshot 13-3 in the first period, but they were only behind 2-1, and both of those goals were on rebounds where there was no defensive help. Eli was playing strong, very strong, and as the game went on, his team got better and better. They still got outshot 25-13 for the game, but with three minutes left, they were ahead 3-2.

That's when there was another breakaway, this time with one of the best scores in the Peewee group. He skated toward Eli, stick handled left, then right, then left--and Eli was sitting there waiting for him. No chance.

His team wound up winning 3-2, and in the locker room, when the Coach mentioned how well Eli had played, all his teammates applauded.

On the way out to the car, he had a big grin on his face. "Three for three," I said.

"The tripleheader!" he said. "And practice tomorrow at 6 a.m."

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