The moment before

Saturday we returned from five days in the Bay of Naples (which will eventually generate several posts). After stopping at Tivoli on the way back to visit two monumental garden-villa complexes (yet another post), we arrived in Perugia just an hour before Simon was due to be at Don Bosco for his soccer game that day. We were all tired and a bit creaky and cranky as we shuffled down to the fields for the game.

Not knowing whether or not Simon would make it, the coach hadn’t put him on the team sheet, but various defections in the squad (for illness, birthday, etc.) meant he had a chance to play. The opponent was Nestor Calcio, a tough opponent who had beaten Passignano 12-1 (and Passignano had beaten Don Bosco 5-0!). With Don Bosco near the bottom of the table (see below), it looked to be a tough afternoon. After a barrage of shots from Nestor, including three off the post or crossbar, and a great many complaints from the visiting parents about offside calls, Don Bosco went ahead thanks to a beautifully taken strike by our right winger, Jordy. At halftime, Simon went in to play his usual right-sided defensive midfield spot, but soon Nestor had taken the lead thanks to a long-range blast and a free kick that bounced in front of our keeper, fooling him.

As the game passed into added time and still hung in the balance, Don Bosco won a free kick on the right side. Pushing the entire squad into the box in hopes of an equalizer at the very end of the match, coach Titoli asked Simon to take the free kick, from about 40 meters out. Here’s what happened:

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