Passerines at the Prom

Chancha Via Circuito - Cumbión De Las Aves

Did Sócrates play soccer, I sometimes wonder, or perform soccer, maybe? To say he played feels too simple, and suggests that he dabbled in it. Children play. Kittens, puppies, play. It always seemed to me that meant there was an element of the willy-nilly, of purposelessness. His performance on the field was entirely purpose: self-commanded, dictated from his mind to his body. Conducted. That is closer. He conducted soccer. Sócrates made moves on the field, with purpose, that I recognize I could never perform even accidentally. I could stand on a field with a ball for the rest of my life and practice and still never do by chance the things he did by his own will. The man himself instructed me as if I were his own child, and I could not then, at the height of my physical abilities, nor can I now, at the height of my soccer understanding, execute many of the maneuvers he did unthinkingly—as a breath is drawn or blood is pulsed. He once said, this time, after a qualifying match with Paraguay, that he could perceive the entire field at once, forward and backward. Like a rabbit, or a cow. This sounds impossible to you, I guess. That game was played before you were born, and many wonderful things happened before you were born.

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