A Mockingbird’s-Eye View

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Sam DeLucia-Green, Contributing Columnist

“BAM!”

The soccer ball collided, yet again, with the plastic enclosure around the pitch at Mockingbird Valley.

As I walked past the kids game with my friends, I could hear overly enthusiastic parents yelling.

One man stood and shouted at the referee, and I could see spit fly out of his mouth, which was quite alarming given that he should have been wearing a mask.

There was already a decent number of family and friends to watch the older kids play.  My friends and I sat high in an empty section of the bleachers at the far end of the barn-like structure. If it were not for the two soccer games going on that night, you could have easily heard a pin drop from the other side of this massive echo chamber.

From an aerial perspective, it would have looked like a Jackson Pollock painting, with cream-colored dots of popcorn and brightly colored wrappers strewn against the hard black surface beneath them.”

With ease I was able to make out conversations families at least 30 feet away were having. I could hear the soccer ball sliding against the netting that surrounds each pitch; the sound would get louder as the ball gained velocity until it hit the glass with a crashing thud.

The game I watched was high scoring and long, ultimately going to penalties. We yelled whenever one of our friends scored. We cupped our hands around our mouths and yelled silly insults at the opposing team.

After speeding down the side of the pitch past three defenders, one player whipped the ball towards the goal with the inside of his foot. The ball dipped beautifully over the goalkeeper and into the top right corner of the goal.

After a while, I began to take closer notice of my surroundings.

A group of girls jumped and shrieked at the top of their lungs when anything even remotely exciting happened. I am truly surprised they didn’t lose their voices halfway through the game.

The entire place had a general stench to it, a combination of sweat, the concession stand, and years of uncleaned trash at the far corners of the bleachers where we sat.

There was a strong smell of popcorn gravitating from a large family nearby — a mom, a dad and, roughly, what seemed like, 27 children.

Each section of bleachers was accompanied by hanging spotlights held by long chains from the ceiling. The metal fans pushed the smells in my direction.

The bleachers had a slight ledge in the back  covered in plastic candy wrappers and uneaten popcorn. From an aerial perspective, it would have looked like a Jackson Pollock painting, with cream-colored dots of popcorn and brightly colored wrappers strewn against the hard black surface beneath them.

After the game we met up with our friends who played in the game; they absolutely reeked of sweat.  One guy in particular was radioactive.