My husband grew up playing soccer, or football as it’s called in Africa. I didn’t know much about the sport until I married him, but I’ve been learning.
Today since it was so beautiful outside, he suggested we walk to a nearby grassy area and “practice” soccer. Practice because I couldn’t play even if you paid me. The amount doesn’t even matter – $10,000 or $1, it makes no difference.
I was fine with the idea. A short walk, healthy exercise – sounds wonderful, right?
“You’ll want to take off your flip-flops,” he said as he gave me the ball, then walked away.
I stood stupidly in the middle of the field.
“You mean … play barefoot?” I gasped.
He nodded. “Otherwise, you’ll destroy your flip-flops.”
Dubiously I shed my flip-flops, then felt the prickly grass under my feet. My childhood was not your average happy-go-lucky, outdoorsy one. Even at 6 years old I was typing stories on the computer and squinting in strong sunlight.
“Ooh, it feels sharp!” I observed. He didn’t even notice. His feet must be like armored leather.
We kicked the ball a couple of times, then I felt something sharp enter my big toe. A leaflike invader had poked into my flesh, and I plucked it out and threw it away. Then, to my horror, I noticed blood beginning to trickle out of my toe.
“Wait! I’m hurt!” I cried. He came over immediately and let me lean on him like a wounded veteran, while I brushed off the blood and tried to survey the damage.
“We’re going home so you can clean your foot,” he said. The game, if anyone was keeping score, had reached a grand total of five minutes. <sigh>
My toe is fine now, but I feel even more of a wimp than ever. I don’t think I would have lasted five minutes as a child in my husband’s home country!