“What do you fear most Ramon?” His father looked down at him with a serious expression. Ramon knew the question was in good fun. He dreaded the questions, “Answers didn’t scare us, it was the questions we don’t want to know the answer too. Ramon thought long and hard, “I don’t want to die, Papa,” he said. Ramon stood up from their porch and ran into the street. He ran in circles before making himself dizzy enough to fall down.
It was a dirt road, any traffic could be seen from miles away. They lived in a village small enough to notice any traffic. Ramon and his father lived with no electricity. They weren’t poor by all means, their village had its own water source. For them, it was more than any money could buy. They knew of simple things and simple life.
“What do you mean Ramon?” His father asked. Ramon’s answer was never just one. When he spilled from his cup, he always dropped a little more than he meant. Ramon looked up with a smile. Ramon was almost 12 years old but very smart for his age. Ramon’s father kept curiosity as a close friend.
“I talked to Mika, he’s ready to work in the fields with his Papa. I don’t want that.” Mika was a close friend to Ramon. “Well, what’s wrong with that?” His father asked. “I love you, and I don’t want you to be stuck here too,” Ramon answered. “Mijo, we can do whatever we wish. What is it you want to do?” He asked.
Ramon looked at the beaten up soccer ball. He felt selfish, they barely had enough to eat, and all he wanted was to play soccer. He didn’t have to say anything, Ramon’s gaze said more than enough. “Very well, we will move out here my son. I will find a way, just do what you love.” His father said. It was a good day. For once, Ramon felt the sting of hope. It was something he’d never felt, and it faded quickly.
Ramon practiced throughout the week, but never consistently. After a few years, his father kept his promise. They moved out of that small village and into a nearby city. His father had found a way to use his expertise in farming. He was a valued opinion in the local market. Just like that, Ramon’s world shifted. For once, he had a chance.
Ramon was graduating soon, yet he had never been in a real school. For once, he could play soccer with a team. With others who shared his passion. He had two years to play before he would graduate. Everything was falling into place. Ramon was beyond excited. His father even got him a new soccer ball.
Tryouts came, and Ramon was an animal. The coach said, “I’ve never seen anyone more conditioned.” What else did he have to do, he thought. Ramon could keep up with anyone and be always on the ball. When tryouts ended, the coach posted the team in the locker room. Ramon was beyond excited, it was his dream. He didn’t make it. The coach said, “He just didn’t have the skill.” He went home that day skipped his dinner and went straight to bed.
The next day he awoke to his father waking him up. “Ramon, get up, I need your help,” he said. Ramon felt like sliding deeper into his blanket as if it would hide him from his Papa. Ramon got up and followed his father. Ramon was surprised to see a net in the backyard with not one but two new soccer balls. “What is this Papa?” He asked. “This is for you, but I need your help.” His father answered and beckoned him to the corner of their yard.
There was concrete laid out from an old basketball hoop. It would’ve been more evident if the previous residents left the basketball hoop. “I want to build a brick shed, I need your help everyday. We are going to build it, little by little, it will take time.” He said. “I can finish it within a few weeks, Papa,” Ramon said. His father just shook his head no.
“What’s first?” Ramon asked. “Lay down one brick just as I have outlined it. I will prepare a mold for you to use. Then you will practice soccer.” He said. Ramon nodded, he didn’t really want to play soccer. Not anymore, he wasn’t good enough, the coach said it. Still, he kept a promise to his father and deep down, Ramon always loved to play.
The next day Ramon had no school. When he woke up, his father was waiting for him outside. “I made a mold for you, simply spread it evenly all over the brick. Then you will practice soccer.” His father said. “What about the brick?” Ramon asked. His father only shook his head, no.
This process continued every day. When Ramon had school, he would help his father and practice in the evening. It took Ramon almost a full year to build the shed. Each day it was something different. A brick laid out in a weird direction, more mold to put on a single block. It was always one task and no more. Ramon disliked that part, he was half tempted to finish it in one night. He even joked about it once, his father’s response was, “Then I would have you start over.” Ramon wasn’t sure if it was a joke, so he never followed through.
When it was done Ramon was pleased, it was a big shed, at first none of what he was building made sense. Now he could he his hard work pay off. “When’s soccer tryouts?” his father asked. “Not this year, I’m going to focus on school instead,” Ramon answered. “Why not?” His father asked. “I’m just not good enough, Ramon said, he could hear the words simultaneously from his coach.
His father laughed a little, “Ramon, Why did we not start building the roof first?” he said. “It would be impossible, without foundation,” Ramon answered. “Do you know why its strong Ramon?” His father asked. “Because of the mold?” Ramon answered. His father shook his head no. “Because every day, you worked on it little by little. Like your craft, you won’t start at the top. But that doesn’t change what it is, does it? It’s not the mold, we could have put the mold on all at once. But every day when it would harden in the sun, it became stronger. By working on it, little by little, this shed, is stronger than it could ever be.” his father said. “I’m going to try out,” Ramon said. Ramon made the team that year and won a scholarship for college. The other kids didn’t understand, they worked just as hard. All Ramon had was his father, their home, and a few soccer balls. His days were spent brick by brick, and he perfected his craft.
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