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Soccer Man with the heart of Hunter Man

Published June 26. 2010 09:00AM

I watched as my 60-year-old husband swerved to avoid hitting an opponent and dove head first to the ground, rolled and landed back up on his feet. He headed toward the opponent who had control of the soccer ball.

"Wow! Did you see that?" my friend Renee said.

Unfortunately, I did. I scrutinized Harry, looking for signs of limping or broken bones sticking out somewhere. To my amazement, he appeared none the worse for wear after his tumble.

Watching Harry in action was like watching the Energizer Bunny, Gumby, Rambo, and a Weeble all rolled into one.

I was very impressed. I was even in awe of his prowess on the field. Who knew there was a soccer star lurking inside this mild-mannered mason?

As he dogged his opponent's moves, it was kind of like watching Hunter Man stalking his prey. Looks like I have to add "Soccer Man" to the many hats he wears.

And we owe it all to my sister and her husband, Diane and George. They held a graduation party for their son, Zach with a World Cup theme. He's a soccer player. The sport has been a major influence in his life and continues to be so, even after his high school soccer games are over. He continues to play at Iron Lakes and hopes to play for LCCC this fall.

With the World Cup games being played in South Africa, Diane thought his graduation party should be a soccer tournament. Guests were asked to form three-man teams and they played 10-minute games, with winning teams of each advancing to play against the other winning teams until one emerged as the champion.

Thankfully, we were minus the annoying beehive sound of the South African vuvuzela horns that fans at the World Cup are complaining about.

Diane and George asked Harry to be on their team, the "Bubby Brigade." (Bubby is one of Zach's family nicknames.) Diane even had T-shirts made with a preschool picture of Zach on it with "Bubby Brigade" printed on it.

Harry was somewhat surprised to be asked to play on the team since he has never played a soccer game in his life.

And no, I was not asked to be on any team. I was not in the least bit offended that no one saw me as a potential Mia Hamm. I was very content to give my best impression of a cheerleader sitting in my camp chair on the sideline.

"Give me an H. Give me an A. Give me a R-R-Y! Yeah! Harry!"

OK. Dallas Cowgirl I'm not.

He sure did made a statement as he strolled on to the field. It was like watching a movie in slow motion as he sauntered toward his teammates. I knew he was the hero of the day because I could hear music-something stirring like a cross between the theme from "Rocky" and "The Chariots of Fire."

He was definitely not the picture of your average soccer player. Bald (but cute!) in his blue jean shorts showing off his knobby knees, wearing his high-top Hunter Man's hunting boots. OK. David Beckham he was not. In fact, I think I almost heard the voice of Jeff Foxworthy saying, "You know you're a Redneck. if you wear hunting boots to play soccer."

He took quite a ribbing about the hunting boots. Later in an after-game interview, he justified his choice in footwear saying they were his most comfortable pair of shoes and felt would protect him best from any injuries.

Hmmm. I wonder if Red Wing would be willing to endorse him?

I observed that only a few other adults were bravely playing against other teams made up of virile young men and a few athletic young gals. But Harry was the oldest, playing with the heart of a young man.

After the games were over, trophies were handed out. The winning team was the one made up of three brothers originally from England who, instead of being born with silver spoons in their mouths, were born with soccer balls on their feet.

Harry's team won a trophy too. "To the team who needs to take up another sport."

Which is fine with Harry.

He'll just continue to wear his "soccer shoes" for the sport of his choice. The trophies he receives from that sport are the gamey tasting edible kind.

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