Twenty years ago in Montgomery, Alabama, Geoff, five years old at the time, and I showed up at the playing field for his soccer game. A thunderstorm had recently passed over and the field was a flooded mess. I pulled him aside and said, "Geoff, I want you to get as wet and as muddy as you can."
His eyes went unbelievably wide at this unbelievable news and with a huge smile beaming he had to verify this. "Really?"
"Really," I said.
And did he ever. Both teams played with uninhibited exuberance, but they weren't playing a lot of soccer. Nary a puddle could be passed by without a stomping splash or a sliding tackle with no opponent nearby. I particularly enjoyed the ball being kicked as it floated on a puddle and erupted from a wide spray of water. The kids couldn't help but turn their heads and squint their eyes in a protective reflex, but their laughter told us they were having a lot of fun.
This morning I opened the garage door to the rain. I threw my panniers on the bike and turned my lights on. And then I said, "Hank, I want you to get as wet as possible on the way to work."
"Really," I said.
I could pass by nary a puddle without my tires drenching my feet and legs with a splash. Water dripping off my helmet in front of my smile created an inexplicable picture of incongruity for the car-bound people waiting with me for the light to change. My gloves smeared the drops on my glasses just enough to create a clear spot here and there. Not to worry, though. If I missed a puddle there were plenty more along the way. Arriving at work, my jersey was plastered to me and you could hear water squishing with every step I took. But there were no dampened spirits on this rain-soaked ride. I got to play all the way to work.
23 hours ago