Monday, April 30, 2007

On the Pitch

Belated thanks to everyone who bought lemonade at the Alex's Lemonade Stand hosted by the elementary Sunday school classes at First Pres on Sunday. Alex's Lemonade Stand Redux will be held between Sunday school and worship on the patio next Sunday (5/6). The children have loved helping others and running a lemonade stand! All proceeds go to support childhood cancer research.


You may want to take cover. I'm about to wax nostalgic about youth sports. It was nine years ago this month that Davis told us he was going to try tryouts for the local competitive soccer team. The announcement astonished me. Davis wasn't the best player on his recreational team that spring. He wasn't even in the top three. I would have been hard pressed to swear he was in the top half. No one else on his team tried out. As best I can recollect, no one else in his whole league tried out. Davis did, along with seventeen other ten year olds. Eighteen boys made the team. The Buengers' lives changed.

At first, it was just a matter of juggling the lawn care and the gardening schedule, so that we fit it in on Saturday mornings before we left for Houston or even pushed it back to Sunday afternoon some days, if we had an especially long road trip. By the end, our yard was no longer the envy of the neighborhood, and we bought tomatoes from the store in the summer if we wanted them. We started out with a sedan, but soon traded up for a van, not just for gear, but to carry other boys along. By the end Walter and I each drove minivans, in case we had to take the whole team somewhere. As newbies, we hollered "Kick it!" or "Clear it." After a few years we knew enough to suggest "Composure" or perhaps just "Easy." In the end Walter rarely spoke at all on the side lines, and I just added the occasional "Well struck." We eventually understood what the referee meant when he signaled off side and knew the difference between a foul with advantage and one without. One birthday, Davis chose to take three buddies to a 3 v 3 tournament in lieu of a party, and we thought it a grand choice.

Competitive soccer tryouts for Erin's age group start tomorrow, and much to my astonishment, Erin will be there. I say astonishment, not because she is not capable of trying out and making the team. She is. In the Neuroblastoma world, children in relapse rarely feel like running around the soccer field, especially at that level, and frankly, most parents can't honestly sign a contract that commits their child to play for a year. Not the Buengers. We'll gladly sign the bottom line. . .and put up the money. Walter was even talking last night at dinner about trading in his sedan for a second van again. All I can say is that if you need us. . . look for us on the pitch.

Not much else is going on around here. Walter has moved the church one step closer to having a new (and I believe splendid) pastor in place by the first of July. Davis has knocked off all of his finals and is wrestling his History of Science term paper to the mat as I write. Erin had a break from school today, because the teachers needed one last work day to get organized for the final run to the finish line. She and Nico and Adam spent the day doing their usual stuff, which, as always is top secret, as well as incomprehensible (at least to me).

I did take the opportunity to meet an old friend on Saturday. Angela Thomas, matriarchal head of the Thomas Team and mother to angel Christi and angel on earth Shayla, and wife to the uberbanker Shayne, flew into Houston on Saturday on business. She graciously made time to visit. We had both thought that our daughters (same age, diagnosed within a month of each other, witty, creative, and bright) would meet some day and share laughs about their silly old mothers. Sadly, it will never happen. Christi had a good run, but not good enough for those of us who loved and admired her. Christi died last September, but she is a child who continues to bring out the best in people, even those like me, who never had the privilege to know her. You should stop by her blog or her permanent website and get to know her, too. You will find your heart and imagination growing as you read about her. Here are Erin and I wearing our new Ohio State shirts in honor of Christi's cat, Buckeye (who I am told was named after the candy and not the university mascot).

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