A. knows what he wants to bring for soccer snacks and there’s no persuading him otherwise.
“Popsicles,” he says.
I fight the urge to tell him that a box of granola bars will be easier. In his league, the snacks rank higher than the actual game. Don’t trifle with snacks.
How much harder can popsicles be? A lot it turns out when you can’t find the top to the cooler and the bag of ice freezes in one solid block.
As Chaz searches the garage for the cooler top, I heave the bag of ice against the concrete garage floor to break up the chunks into manageable pieces. The plastic bag explodes on impact and sends ice flying. Lucky for us the clutter of boxes and yard tools act as a barrier and most of the ice ricochets back toward my feet. I scoop up the cleaner pieces and line the bottom of the igloo, add a layer of popsicles and top off the frozen, if slightly dirty, parfait with another layer of ice.
I bend down to pick up the cooler. My brain knows what to do but somehow misfires the message to my arms. Nothing. I try again and ungracefully drag-carry the cooler to the car.
“Need some help?” a dad asks watching me struggle at the soccer field.
“I’m good. Just a few more steps,” I grunt.
I drop the cooler on the sidelines and collapse onto it. The hard plastic provides a solid, if not comfortable, seat to watch the game.
A. must know it’s his final game and been saving his best moves for last. He attacks the ball, stays in the action and nearly scores his first goal. By halftime, sweat plasters his hair to his forehead and his face and cheeks are flush from running.
All the kids look like A. after an hour of running in 90-degree weather. My son is right. This is the best choice. Kids know what kids like. A.’s teammates stretch out their hands for the popsicles after the game.
With a dozen left, I tell A. to start passing out the rest. “Any kid you see,” I tell him. “Go find anyone who looks like they might like one.” It’s not a hard sell.
I dump the ice and lift the now feather-light cooler. All around us kids lick multi-colored popsicles in the sunshine.