And so, when young Ezra scored his third goal for the Cubs against the Monsters in Selma Youth Soccer Under-8 league on Saturday, I tossed my cap onto the field.
I was the only spectator to do so in honor of young Ezra’s hat trick. Maybe others were not aware of the tradition of hockey fans throwing their hats onto the ice when someone scores three goals. Maybe I was not aware that we don’t throw hats in soccer.
In earlier times I was a sports writer for a daily newspaper, covering both soccer and hockey, so I was ready to celebrate for the Cubs’ first hat trick (a term that originated in cricket, a sports played by few in America). Alas, it was not scored by my Grandson Joaquin, as I had dreamed. So, you go, Ezra. My hat’s off to you. Oh, and I grabbed my hat back before it was trampled by 6-year-olds.
That was just one of the fall delights available to us as we welcomed autumn into our town. Weekly youth futbol games are a highlight of every week for us as the weather has gone from scorching to cool. If you want to see the heart and soul of family-loving Selma, head over to Abraham Lincoln Middle School some Saturday and watch our youth play on a dozen or so fields.
(As we were leaving, we walked past the Under-4 league field. The players were small, the field was smaller — about the size of my living room. Maybe I could set up goals in my house and the U-4’s could practice here. Give me something to do when I’m not watching surfing videos.)
My Grandson scored two goals for the Cubs that morning and gave credit to the two bowls of oatmeal he ate before the game. But I believe it was the nachos and ice cream he had for dinner the night before at the Big Fresno Fair. (Mea culpa: Wife, daughter and I shared a foot-long corn dog, slathered in mustard.)
Going to the fair with a 6-year-old is a much different experience than just two old folks wandering through the Art and Agriculture buildings. The kid has a different plan than we do. He took in a few rides, paid a couple bucks to see a 23-foot long snake and bought a sword that glows and pulsates in several colors.
For many generations County Fairs have been an American tradition featuring baking contests, quilts and the ubiquitous Tilt-A-Whirl. Today they also are a marketplace that ten-dollars us at every turn.
The Fair, like youth soccer, is a time and place for families to gather and soak up Americana. As we begin to break free from pandemic restrictions, we need to relearn how to socialize in healthy, constructive (and sugary/greasy) ways.
So I’ll show up again this Saturday for the final weekend of Selma Youth Soccer. I’ll bring a hat, and hope I get to throw it again.
And come next fall, I’ll once again gather the family together and drive to the Big Fresno Fair.
Somebody remind me to bring more Tens.