Her father took her out to kick the soccer ball around the yard. She was suitably attired, she had some green tights on which actually suited a 4 year old … much better than 40 year olds whose legs stretch the fruit or cute little faces into some kind of grotesque monsters from another world . She wore a flowered top, her runners, and a black ball cap, which needed a lot of adjusting. She matched the swagger of her father, as they strode out into the yard. She swung her arms around and did some on the spot jumping to limber up. She was a quick study.
The father put the ball down and kicked it to her. She kicked it back. She jumped up and down, it was fun. He kicked it to her and she, concentrating, tongue out, thinking about which foot, changing it, focussed … and kicked it back. Her dad had to run a little bit to get it but it was a good effort.
This time dad kicked the ball back and forth and bumped it with his knee before kicking it back towards the little red haired girl. She had been waiting patiently and being a good sport, she clapped for her dad’s amazing talent. She got the ball and focused, tongue in place and kicked it as hard as she could.
Her dad jumped in the air and hit it back to her with her head.
She was squealing with delight and ran after it. She picked it out of the bushes and ran back to her place on the lawn and put the ball in front of her and kicked it again.
Then dad lost the plot.
He danced around a little, kicked the ball back and forth and back kicked it in the air. He used his knees, he used fancier footwork . . . all the while she just stood there. At first she tried to look enthused but it sort of slid off her face until all the at was left was her being outright annoyed. She tried clapping for him and putting her arms out. “Ok daddy, my turn.” Daddy was in his own world. “Daddy. Daddddddyyy!!!!” She kept it up until she was whining, screaming and even threatening to tell mom. Finally he sent the ball sailing in her direction.
With great care, she kicked it back. I know some might think her foolish but that little girl is pretty basic. If you can’t trust your father, given another chance, will do the right thing … who can you trust? She had raised the bar for him, set a shining example of how to share. She waited for him to honour her trust.
But Dad blew it, so lost was he in being a “man” … again … he started his best imitation of Pele, dancing around with the ball, running this way and that, fancy footwork, weaving … while his daughter stood with her hands on her hips not saying a word. Her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed. She waited some more.
Finally, dad kicked it back to her.
She concentrated again and swung her foot but this time she kicked it off to the side just a little, and had to run after it. She kicked it again actually sending it further away. She ran again, having her own little game off in the corner of the yard, laughing hysterically and with each inept kick, learning the joy of being a woman and not doing it exactly right and how even that could serve her well. She was making it more and more impossible to return the ball to dad.
Now dad stood with his hands on his hips waiting and was clapping his hands to get her attention. He called out to her, he told her to stop being silly and then he demanded she kick it to him. He stopped just short of threatening to tell mom.
“I can’t. I am over here.”
“Kick the ball to me.”
“I can’t, the ball is over here with me too,” she pointed out the obvious.
“Bring it back up here.”
“The ball does not want to.”
And there you had it. The end to the game and the argument. Not her fault at all. Just a ball that had its own mind and she would not cross that line and force something smaller and less intelligent than herself to do what it clearly did not want to do.
Remember, you never have to take the fall for anything, there are always others to deflect the blame on to, oh, and also, men … they never share.