There it is, on my daughter's back, as big as day. Arctic white numerals against royal blue. The color is not the same as the kit I wore.
The pitch comes back in a rush. My legs root me to a ground far away from my teens while my mind lands back in high school. The number on my back is arctic white against deep maroon. Coach didn't put much stock in names on the jersey, the '11' stark and alone.
She wears my number now, a strange and wonderful weft through the warp on the loom of my life. The number turns back the clock, opening the door on a glimpse, however brief, of the boy I used to be looking up at the man I have become.
It seems only possible through her, on days like this one where we run ourselves breathless under a pewter sky. She chasing the ball, me chasing a better man I hope someday to catch.
She wears my number on her back. The honor is mine, though she knows it not. I watch her run the field, I am breathless, I am blessed to wear her number on my heart.
Field notes, October 2013. Gracing an emerald field, she plays the beautiful game.