Recently, older boy and I were playing catch at a local park.
We had found a patch of open greenery between two young soccer teams--coed groups of energetic first-graders.
The football soared back and forth through the azure and cloudless sky.
Little Sissy would call for a turn and we would include her in the game as well.
Passing and kicking.
Quality family time.
A woman carrying a water bottle seemed to be watching us closely while walking to my left.
She appeared to be in her 30s sporting shoulder length blond hair and red-manicured fingernails.
As the woman past, I caught her eye, said "Hi," and then punted a low-line drive to older kid; trying not to make him run too far for it.
With an expression-less face she replied, "You kick like a little girl."
Stunned and embarrassed, I blurted out, "So you say."
She then disappeared into the crowd of soccer parents behind me.
Not my most witty retort.
Probably ranks up there with: "I know you are, but what am I?"
Doesn't she grasp the situation?
There are lots of innocent people around.
Folks who do not want to be hit by a flying ball, kicked by a "manly" dad.
I am directional punting and surrendering distance and form to keep an errantly aimed ball from disturbing parents or players using the park!
Can't she tell: I am kicking like this on purpose!
This internal Charlie Brown-like conversation that had hypnotized me ended when older son shouted: "Dad, I am open!"
I lowered my head, took several steps, and punted the ball as hard as I could.
The pigskin sailed well over older boy's head; fortunately hitting no one.
He raced to retrieve it.
Though unseen, I was sure that the lady was now standing next to parents and laughing uncontrollably.
I later apologized to older boy, but I did not mention the "you kick like a girl" accusation.
Sometimes in our family it is difficult to distinguish the adults from the children.
Now pardon me why I go practice a more manly punting form.
Enjoy your weekend.
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