The Big Game

Two teenagers are playing catch with a football as I walk past the bus tunnel. The older one backs up onto Olive Way, usually a busy street – no traffic at the moment due to lazy Sunday traffic and maybe a trick of the stoplights. The kid on the sidewalk passes the ball with an exaggerated jerk of his arm. The kid in the street puts his hands out behind him, ducks his head down, catches the ball behind his back, but immediately fumbles it. He picks up the ball and jogs back to the sidewalk, the light has changed and two cars – one from each direction – will converge shortly on his spot. The kid steps onto the sidewalk beside me and tosses the ball back to his friend. I continue my stroll up Olive, but am interrupted a moment later when the ball falls down beside me and gets tangled up in my stride. I look back and see the kid several yards away, jogging over to pick up his missed catch. I pick up the ball (it’s surprisingly soft – it needs to be inflated a little), and toss it to him backwards from my crouching position – in sort of a modified hike. The ball comes down a few feet short. The kid stretches his arms out as far as possible, but it hits the sidewalk and tumbles away.

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