Monday, September 5, 2011

The Sudden Departure of Dagoberto During an Unfinished Soccer Match

The following is a true account. Although the event itself did take place, some modifications have been made to make some sense out of the whole thing, but I am not sure this was accomplished.

Dagoberto dropped dead during the second half of a soccer match before the amazed eyes of his friends, his son, and a few viewers. It was a copper colored evening of a dusty Fall Tuesday during the 1998-1999 season of the Over 40 Downtown League.

During half-time, Dagoberto, or “Dago” as his friends used to call him, had been passing bottles of water to his teammates and making jokes about the speed (or lack of if) of their soccer match. His son sat in the sidelines and held brief conversations with other spectators of the game. The teenager made it a point to go to most of his father’s soccer games.

Before going back to the field for the second period of the game, Dagoberto, who was not a tall man at all, hair somewhat messy and his skin as dark as the dirt they were playing on, found his way to where his son was sitting and patted him in the back.

“Thanks for coming,” he said to his son.

The game started again, and the middle-aged men ran after the ball with the same joy from their youth, but the rhythm was a different one altogether. After some intense 12 minutes of the second period, the ball went out of bounds.

Dago ran to the sideline to cover the guy who was going to “throw in” the ball to continue the game. He was alert, all pumped-up with his eyes fixed on the ball when he felt a sharp, incisive and prolonged puncture on the middle of his chest. He cringed, and then his expression changed to one that looked like he had seen something that shocked him. His knees slowly gave up underneath without him taking notice of it while his eyes were still set on the ball and the opposing player.

“Why is he not playing the ball?” Dago was thinking as his body became loose and his arms and legs numb. He fell on his knees first, not fully knowing what was happening to him, and waited -still- for the ball to come into play.

He paid little attention to the chest pain, thinking that it was only a direct consequence of the efforts made during the soccer match. After all he wasn’t 24 anymore. Aches and body grievances had become part of his life beginning a couple of years ago, when his cholesterol shot through the roof and he developed a slight case of the diabetes. Even then, he led an active life and played soccer twice a week.

Several hours of beer drinking followed each game.

As it was, the ball never made it into the field. The player from the opposite team, who just minutes before had said something nasty to Dago -all in the heat of the game- witnessed how Dago’s body collapsed and how his once dark skin became very pale in a matter of seconds. The player dropped the soccer ball and waved for help.

But all of this was in slow motion.

The ball appeared to be floating and turning on its own axis in front of Dago’s face. The player that was waiving for help with both of his hands looked like a clumsy seagull trying to leap the ground.

“What the hell is he doing?” Dago was thinking. “Play the damn ball already!”

Players from both teams ran towards the falling man faster than they did when they were playing the game and formed a circle around him. The sun was setting and their shadows resembled a stretched crown across the soccer field.

“Somebody get water!” One of the players yelled towards the benches. See, in soccer matches water is supposed to cure just about anything.

Dago fell softly on his left side with the help of his teammate, the one wearing the number 10 jersey.

“Why is everyone around me?” Dago thought, and felt very drowsy. His teenage son, already by his side, cried.

Dago heard the voice of his child, but didn’t know where it was coming from. Maybe it was just a memory, maybe an ill effect from playing under the sun, or maybe it was just the need to hear him.

For Dago the story continues in a big misty hall with a large gate, or maybe in a long tunnel with a bright light at the end of it. Perhaps the story continues as Dago floats above all soccer players, teammates and adversaries who standing still in a circle, his son by his side.

Maybe he looks down on them and realizes that nothing is really happening, he is just going somewhere perhaps better, or maybe just different. The story could also continue with Dago being born again, but with a different shape, or as a completely different being. Or maybe everything goes dark and that’s the end of it.

Only he knows.

For the rest of the players the story will continue attending a funeral in two days where they will drink a couple of beers and remember how much of a good person Dago was.

Next Tuesday they will play again. And hope they win.

♠ ♠ ♠

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Write a Novel in One Month - Sure, Why Not?

So I decided to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those of you who don’t know, this is an event in which crazy people from all over the world try to write a fifty-thousand word novel in ONE month. Yeah. That’s about 3 pages a day. My wife approached me with this idea about two months ago, but for one reason or another we passed. We wanted to do it with a few other friends who were busy having babies and stuff like that.

We decided to wait for a better time and a fellow poker-player/blogger friend (Hi @PokerLawyer!) said she was going to do it and I got all excited about it again. I checked the website for the project, read all about it and fell in love with the concept. I have always wanted to write a novel, but I am a little too good at finding excuses not to. Not this time. I will give it an honest shot, and to prepare for it I’ll be writing a blog almost every day in September and October. 
I guess I’ll be writing more about me and about where I come from. I will be discussing more about my philosophical views and some anecdotes. I’ll write about my weekends and fun escapades and you will love them all! 
I’ve always loved to write. I did poems when I was a kid, prose in high school, and short stories in college. I was recruited as an editor for a literary magazine early in the decade and later as a writer for a newspaper. I have had such a good time all along. I got into blogging a bit, and even though I haven’t been as consistent with it I enjoy it thoroughly and want to do it a lot more. I do some writing for work, but it is mostly technical stuff so my artistic/contemplative side needs to be nourished in my own time. 
As much as I enjoy all kinds of writing, I do have a certain preference for literary fiction. I think this genre synthesizes all others in a beautiful way. You can write as poetically as you want, or with a sort of journalistic style with a literary twist. You can mess with form and rhythm to make each composition as artistic or as straightforward as you want it to be. And I think this is a lot of power. I think writers don’t realize the power they have in their hands, and those that do are the ones who excel and create masterpieces.

Writing and other forms of art are restrained by their own means, but within their own limitations the options can be endless. I don’t want to convolute my point, but what I am saying is this: a painter can only work within the confines of his canvas and his material, a musician can only work with the notes that each instrument can hit, or a sculptor has to work with his tools and with the malleability of his material. Yet, the varieties of the final products each one of these artists can come up with are infinite. The options are limitless. Same thing for writers, the number of possible compositions is impossible to obtain.

The interesting thing about writers is that in a way, the canvas we work with is people’s imagination. We can compose a piece and our diction will paint images in an individual’s mind. And what’s even more, each individual will have the opportunity to create its own ideas from what they read, and not only that they will have the opportunity to assign it some meaning and it can lead to a change in their lives. Pretty powerful stuff.

Thinking about it, makes me wonder how many revolutionaries and leaders were inspired by something they read? How many people have been motivated in one way or another by reading a compelling poem or eloquent prose? How many will be inspired by something you write? I for one find this very exciting. Anyways, thank you for coming along. I am enjoying this blog a little more everyday and I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and reading it. 

This blog is roughly 730 words and for NaNoWriMo I need to do around 1700 every day. 

Oh boy. 

This is going to be interesting.