As the ball trickled past the goalie, spinning from slight contact with his left hand, I felt an elation that I'd never felt in my three years of Little League baseball or three-and-a-half game season of soccer.
It wasn't important that I wasn't even on the soccer team for which I scored the goal or that my goal was scored on a goalkeeper who was more interested in the fading sun's colors than his temporary role as gatekeeper. It wasn't even important that I was a year older than most of the players on the field and two years older than the first-time players.
I had scored a goal. My first goal. The papers wouldn't feature my goal, the evening news wouldn't cover it at 10 o'clock. Shoot, it wouldn't even enter the scorebook or notepad of the most dedicated youth soccer fan. It was a goal scored in practice by a player who had come to his younger brother's practice with his mom after a grocery store run and had been asked to practice for a few minutes in a scrimmage because another youngster had just gotten hurt-you know the type of goal I'm talking about, right?
This was my first time playing soccer since midway through my first. As a six-year-old with a budding love for sports--basketball and baseball were already practiced in my front yard, along with some innocent and novice touch football--I had followed my friends into the La Sirra Soccer League.
It was quite clear, however, from the very first practice that soccer wasn't my thing. I was deathly afraid of the ball and well, what else matters in soccer? A few games into the season, and it was clear from my game tears, my incredible reluctance to leave the house for soccer practice and games, that I was not to be the next (first?) American soccer star.
That day at my brother's practice though, as the street-clothes-wearing mercenary, I felt what it was to score, to be a momentary spotlighter in a team sport.
I imagine that if I multiply that feeling by a million, it'd equal the feeling to rise up, hang in the air, and bring down the house with a dunk.