How long has it been since you left? Since we split? I still remember you pulling me out of that box. You picked me up at Sports Authority, remember that place? You didn’t point, click or shopping cart me into your life, you went to the store and chose me.
The beginning was all love. You didn’t even try me on. At first sight I was the one. You couldn’t resist my supple kangaroo leather or fold-over tongue. Much game, I had much game then.
I dangled from your fingertips as you strutted up to training. Your teammates noticed you for the first time. “Dang! J copped some Copa’s?!” You still sucked at football, but with me on your feet you were part of the group at last.
From then on we went everywhere together. Pick-up games, backyard duels, Wednesday night 6v6 and tournaments in far away counties. Inseparable.
I thought we’d be a pair forever. I was naïve. The internet intruded. New boots were everywhere – F50s, Predators, Vapors. I went from the choice boot of your hero –
Zidane, to the official boot of u9 referees. Suddenly, I was overweight and busted at the seams.
I began spending more time in your trunk than on the pitch. Twice a week pick-up dropped to once week, to once a month, to nada. I managed the loneliness, but when you cut off my fold-over tongue, I knew I was a goner. You were trying to change me. Sculpt me into a sleeker, younger model. Vintage wasn’t in fashion then. This wasn’t a personal touch; this was an act of betrayal.
We went out one last time. And then it happened. Someone called you out, said I was too old. “J why are you wearing Maradona’s Boots?“ they snickered. When did wearing Maradona’s boots become an insult? But you blushed. You were embarrassed of me. After five years you wore me in and wore me out.
I was a relic. Time had left me behind. Soon your mother got a hold of me. Stashing me away in a cobweb infested corner of the garage. Every now and then she’d ask “Do you still want these?” you’d reply yes, out of guilt. But I knew you didn’t mean it. You never returned.
I hope you’re happy. I hope you’re still scoring goals and hitting no look passes with the outside of whatever boots you’re wearing. I hope now that you have a daughter and it’s her turn to play, you remember me.
Remember I was there for you when you couldn’t do 6 keepie uppies. Remember I was there when you couldn’t strike a long ball. Remember I was there when your first touch was crap.
I’m still bitter and haven’t forgiven you. But whenever you’re ready, I’ll take you back.