Halloween was a funny day to have a soccer game, especially in a town like Comstock where Halloween was such a big deal.
But, that’s probably why we were all wearing costumes for the game instead of our uniforms.
Mr. Homestead, our coach, said it might become a Halloween tradition. I hoped not.
It was bad enough having to play in the goal, without having to draw attention to myself by wearing an alligator costume.
My mom thought it would be funny – scare the other team away and all that. I just thought it would be hot.
I pedaled my bike through town, drawing stares because of my costume – alligators didn’t normally ride bicycles. It was a long ride to the field.
The other players on the team had simple costumes. Lily was a ballerina, Bobbi and Audrey were princesses, Latesha was Wonder Woman, and Delia Patel was a soccer player, but she was wearing her brother’s uniform which was a boy’s jersey and was way too big for her.
The players on the other team were all dressed as animals, including three cats, two dogs, a cheetah, a koala and assorted furry creatures. Our team wasn’t that organized.
Actually, we weren’t very good. In the last three years, the Comstock Ten, as our coach called us - because we were often only able to get ten players to the game - had lost thirty straight games, five of which were stopped because we got ten goals behind. Maybe it wasn’t so bad being in a costume instead of wearing the very bright orange uniform that was provided by the Comstock Grain Market.
The game started like all of the other games, with Coach Homestead telling us, “You can win this one, girls, just give it your best. Leave it all on the field.” Coach was an optimist, or maybe he didn’t actually watch us play.
Something unusual happened in the first quarter. The other team was having trouble playing in their costumes, and were very clumsy. Their passes kept going to our players.
Clumsy, as it turned out was our game, and we scored the first goal. Coach was jumping up and down on the sideline, yelling like a crazy man. We didn’t score a lot of goals.
Today was different, however. We were playing with a lead. And when the forward on the other team, in her cool jaguar costume, broke free, I ran at her, growling and waving my alligator arms. She got so confused she rolled the ball right to me. It was my best save all year.
Our passes, that normally bounced off and went to the other team, were cushioned by our costumes, and we moved the ball better than ever. Their goalie, who was dressed like a Teddy Bear, didn’t scare anyone and she had trouble holding on to the ball. By halftime we were up 3-0.
The other team’s coach complained that the game shouldn’t count, but the referee, who was the manager of the Comstock Grain Market, overruled him and said they had to play the second half in their costumes.
When it was all over, we had won 5-0. We were all hugging each other and laughing while the animals on the other team moped their way off the field without even shaking paws.
Coach was speechless, for Coach. “That was the most amazing game I have even seen. I am very proud of you girls.” The team awarded me the game ball for being the first goalie that anyone could remember to not allow a goal.
I tied the ball to the rack on my bicycle and rode back through town, sitting tall and drawing stares -alligators don’t normally play soccer. But I didn’t mind, I was possibly the best alligator goalie on the entire planet.