Flaming Soccer

EE & I in the freakin' ugly blanket on the Reservation.


Today is Emily Elmer’s Birthday (who is no longer Emily Elmer, but Emily Bowers instead).

And so I thought it would be good to write a story about living on the Indian Reservation.

While we lived on the Res. it behooved us to make friends with some of the local kids. Great kids that the world was trying hard to forget, they were amazing at inventing their own fun.

And so one night one of the boys we befriended decided a soccer game in the desert would be appropriate.

A tennis ball and an old sheet was all he needed. He stripped the sheet and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped that thing until a ball roughly the size of a soccer ball was made.

Then with four old tires and a five gallon can of gasoline, we headed out in the pick up truck to the darkest part of the desert.

We poured gasoline into the inside rims of the tires, set up on opposite sides of a makeshift field. Then the ball was soaked. Last item needed – a match. And the desert lit up like Disneyland . . .

The ball was a little heavy, and the boys got a little to into the fun, and kicked the ball without regard – it would go flying like a comet and everyone around would duck. But the night was spent laughing and ducking and chasing that flaming soccer ball across the dark sands.

When it finally died out, and the gas was gone, we turned our play to desert around. The giant dunes begging us to leave our footprints in them.

Up the dune we climbed, down the dune we slid. It was so cold in the desert at night, and there were at least a billion stars out, like I’ve never seen before or since.

I still have burn marks on my shoes that I wore during our game of flaming soccer, an eternal reminder of the fun and folly of youth.

1 comment on “Flaming Soccer


What? How come this is the first time I’ve read this!! Did you know we played again on my parents farm at least 4 more times until some kid in shorts got burned really bad. (Why he chose to wear shorts, I will never understand!)

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