My name is Rollie, short for Raldon. Raldon was my great grandfather on my dad’s side, or something like that. I am ten and in fifth grade. I am kind of a smart kid. I always get 100% in math on those State tests that they make us take every year. My friend, Zach, says that he is smarter than me. He thinks that because he finishes first all of the assignments in class. What he does not know is that I always wait for him to raise his hand before I raise mine. I do not want to get labeled a “know it all”. That is the worst.
I have a little sister and a dog. My dog, Benjamin, Ben for short, is a golden retriever. Ben is a lot bigger than he thinks he is. He is always hungry, no matter how much food I give him. Ben has a very big head; he kind of reminds me of a bear that way. He tilts it to look at me and raises his ears when I am giving him food sometimes. He looks so cute when he does that! He also naps on our living room floor and for some reason likes to sleep on his back with all four of his legs spread wide. What a goofy dog.
My sister is goofy too. She gets her way a lot because she whines. I am not sure why my parents let her get her way. I think that maybe my mom is just tired. My dad too. My mom had cancer last year. She has had a lot of surgery. The cancer is gone, but she is still recovering. Anyway, I get frustrated by my sister but have to admit that I do like to play with her from time to time. Not all kids have a little sister who likes to help them with adventure quests in the Wizards 101 video game!
I am all about sports. I am pretty good at most of them. I have been playing soccer since I was four years old. This year, I got good. I play on a traveling, competitive soccer team, as a starting defender. My teammates are crazy. One time, I got 61 text messages in one day from one of them. They like to talk about girls. My coach also coaches the girls’ team, and my team scrimmages them sometimes. I am not so sure that I understand what is so cool about girls yet. When my friends asked me which one of them that I like, I was careful not to choose one that I knew my friends already liked. So, I just said that I liked the goalie. She is kind of cool and not snobby like a couple of other girls on the team. I am not sure what else to do with that.
One of the coolest thing that happened this summer was the FIFA World Cup. My parents even bought me a Team USA World Cup jersey. I really wanted the Mexico jersey because that is the team that the kids at my school like, but my dad says that I needed to route for Team USA first. We had a long talk about why it was important to be patriotic. I just want to fit in.
The other coolest thing was winning a soccer tournament. We played in four tournaments this summer. We did a pretty good job, except for the one where my coach was ejected. We did not do so well that game. The referee was seriously not calling fouls on the other team. I was getting elbowed and pushed constantly; my teammates were getting tripped. My coach just wanted a safe game for us and the referee kicked him out. Obviously, we did not win that tournament.
We won the next tournament by coming from behind in the second half of the last game. Coach yelled from the sidelines a lot: “Follow it through until the end!”; “Win the ball in the air!”; “Play with a purpose!”; “See the field!” These are all ideas that I totally understand, but I am not sure that my parents do. My mom and dad are always telling me what I could do better. I would like to see them try to jump two feet in the air and head the ball into a goal, or trap a ball coming at them full speed with opposing players pushing at their back! That would be funny. Anyway, our team trophy is nearly as big as my sister. We each won a medal that is so heavy that I am afraid it is going to make my old baseball trophy that it is hanging on fall over.
My coach used to play professional soccer. He can juggle a ball more than 100 times without the ball hitting the ground and dribble the ball between us so fast that by the time I blink, he would have passed me. He has the fastest feet I have ever seen. Coach wants us to play the game of soccer with strategy and forethought. He says that the other teams we are playing only have one or two good players. We are all good. I know that lots of the other teams cannot change pace like we can, either. The only way they play is fast and hard. We can play fast and hard but still maintain control and can slow the game down like a tortuous game of keep away. I like when that happens.
Coach makes us keep a journal of the soccer games that we watch on TV and take notes about the games we play. I think this is what made watching the World Cup so fun. Not the writing part, but seeing players like Tim Howard and Landon Donovan make amazing plays that I recognized as things that I learned from Coach. My parents watched the World Cup games with me. One day, we all got up at 6:30 a.m. to watch Team USA play. I was late for camp that day and my mom was late to work, but it was worth it!
So, school has started and so has our regular soccer season. I hope we scrimmage the girls sometime soon. I have not seen them in a while and my friends and I still talk about a couple of them. I hope we win this season. I think we can. State Cup is in January - I hope we win that too. In the meantime, I will just play my hardest, play with my goofy dog and try not to let my little sister’s whining annoy me. After all, we have a lot more Wizards 101 to play.