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SwEEPER VI “turnaround” TIME: late winter 2009 SETTING: RICKY WELCH, A 13-YEAR-OLD GIFTED SOCCER PLAYER FROM COLORADO SPRINGS THEY CALL “ SWEEPER “, LEADS THE BEST COLORADO YOUTH GOLD I TEAM INTO THE NATIONAL FINALS AT THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY. RICKY IS FROM A POOR SINGLE PARENT HOME - LIVING WITH HIS MOM IN A RENTED TRAILER. RICKY PLAYS SWEEPER - A POSITION IN FRONT OF THE GOALIE - AND VIRTUALLY NO GOALS HAVE BEEN SCORED AGAINST THIS COMPETITIVE, GIFTED, AND MOTIVATED YOUTH COLORADO TEAM THIS YEAR. COLLEGE AND PROFESSIONAL TEAMS ARE ALREADY FOCUSING ON RICKY, HOWEVER HIS MOTHER WANTS RICKY TO JUST CONCENTRATE ON SCHOOL - AND LET THE REST TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. FOLLOW ALONG AS COLORADO GOLD I PREPARES AND PLAYS THE FINAL GAME OF THE YEAR. WHAT HAPPENS IS AN EXTREMELY UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCE IN OUR SOCIETY. THE AMAZING EVENTS THAT FOLLOW TRULY DIG DEEP INTO HUMAN EMOTION AND COMPASSION. “ SWEEPER “ ADDITIONALLY ENCOMPASSES SOCCER FUNDAMENTALS, COLORADO CULTURE, MIDDLE SCHOOL YOUTH, AND THE COMPETITIVE SPORTS ENVIRONMENT OF TODAYS’ YOUTH. SWEEPER HEY DEMI. SO FAR SO GOOD. I DON’T THINK YOUR MOM SUSPECTS US STILL SEEING EACH OTHER. DEMI I DON’T KNOW - SHE HAS BECOME VERY QUIET LATELY. I STILL THINK SHE KNOWS MORE THAN WE THINK. SWEEPER LIKE HAVING SPIES AT EAGLEVIEW SCHOOL ? DEMI ABSOLUTELY - SHE KNOWS EVERYONE - TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, JANITORS, LIBRARIANS - EVERYONE. SWEEPER WOW - I WISH MY MOM KNEW EVERYONE. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. HECK I MAY NEVER SEE MY MOM EVER AGAIN. AND WE DON’T EVEN KNOW IF MY DAD IS STILL ALIVE SINCE WE HAVEN’T HEARD FROM HIM SINCE BEFORE I was born. 2


DEMI AMAZING AND SAD - YOUR DAD HASN’T BEEN DECLARED DEAD AND HAS NEVER SEEN YOU ? SWEEPER WELL WE DON’T KNOW - THERE IS SUSPICION THAT MY DAD ACTUALLY WAS AT SOME CROWDED SOCCER GAMES. DEMI WOW - WOULDN’T THAT BE SOMETHING ? SWEEPER BOY - YOU’D THINK THAT HE WOULD COME OVER AND SAY AT LEAST HOW ARE YOU DOING SON AND BE PART OF OUR LIVES AGAIN. DEMI BUT AREN’T YOU DECLARED DEAD AFTER NOT BEing SEEN IN COLORADO FOR SEVEN YEARS - taht’s what my mom told me. SWEEPER SOMETHING LIKE THAT - IT DOESN’T MATTER - I CAN ONLY HOPE MY DAD IS STILL ALIVE - YOU NEVER KNOW - I WAS TOLD TO NOT BE PREJUDICIAL AS YOU NEVER KNOW HOW SOMETHING MAY HAVE MADE HIM REACT. DEMI BUT YOUR DAD FLAT OUT LEFT YOU. HOW CAN YOU HANDLE THAT ? HOW CAN YOUR MOM HANDLE THAT ? SWEEPER WELL WE HAVE AND WE WERE VERY CLOSE. ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT GOING TO YOUTH GROUP AT ST. FRANCES OF ASSISI CATHOLIC CHURCH HAS MADE Me MUCH STRONGER. DEMI OH - THAT IS ANOTHER THING MY MOM BROUGHT UP. SWEEPER YOU MEAN THAT I’M A CATHOLIC ! DEMI YES - IT’S OK - YOU ARE STILL CHRISTIAN - BUT our family are EVANGELICALS - AND WE JUST DON’T BELIEVE exactly the same things CATHOLICS DO. SWEEPER WELL THERE ARE OVER 150 MILLION CATHOLICS IN THE UNITED STATES AND OVER 2 BILLION WORLD WIDE - THEY CANNOT ALL BE TOTALLY WRONG. 3


DEMI WELL MOM DOESN’T MEAN CATHOLICS ARE WRONG - THEY ARE JUST DIFFERENT. SWEEPER I AM WHAT I AM. I CANNOT DO ANYMORE OR LESS REGARDING RELIGION. ST. FRANCIS WITH ALL THE HAY RIDES, SKI TRIPS, GUEST SPEAKERS, AND FUND RAISERS - WELL IT IS JUST THE BEST. DEMI I AGREE - I WAS ON ONE OF THOSE SKI TRIPS TO MONARCH WHEN EVERYONE RENTED SKIS AND WAS ON THE TOP OF A DOUBLE BLACK - WITH HALF THE KIDS NEVER SKIING BEFORE. SWEEPER AND THEY ALL WENT AT ONCE. AMAZING. BY THE END OF THE DAY MOST OF THESE KIDS WERE SKIING ALL THE DIFFICULT RUNS AS THEY KNEW NO DIFFERENT - FEARLESS KID SKIERS. DEMI WELL THE FIRST BELL RANG - WE HAVE 30 SECONDS TO GET TO ENGLISH CLASS AND THAT BORING TEACHER. AT LEAST I HAVE MY HOMEWORK DONE. SEE YOU LATER.

SWEEPER

DEMI REMEMBER - KEEP IT QUIET - MY MOM HAS HER SPIES ABOUT. SWEEPER THERE GOES MY CELL - A NUMBER I HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE. ON MY WAY TO SPANISH.......... COACH HEY SWEEPER PRACTICE IS DELAYED BECAUSE OF THE RAIN. STAY AT THE LIBRARY UNTIL YOU GET A TEXT MESSAGE. SWEEPER GOT IT - I’VE GOT TONS OF HOMEWORK. BUT I CANNOT THINK CLEARLY. BOTH MOM AND DAD GONE, CADET SMITH IN THE HOSPITAL ON A VENTILATOR STILL, AND I CAN’T PLAY IN GERMANY NEXT MONTH. SHOULD I BE DEPRESSED? ABSOLUTELY NOT - MOM ALWAYS INSTRUCTED ME TO NEVER GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT. 4


COACH SUPPER WILL BE LEFTOVERS TONIGHT. WE HAVE THREE DAYS WORTH. SWEEPER SOUNDS GOOD. I LOVE LEFTOVERS. COACH WHO HAS BEEN CALLING YOU LATELY - NUMBERS YOU DON’T RECOGNIZE ?

HOW DID YOU KNOW ?

SWEEPER

COACH OH - I CAN TELL WHEN YOUR PHONE RINGS - AND YOU TRY TO RETURN THE CALL. WHO IS THAT ? SWEEPER I DON’T KNOW - IT SEEMS SOMEONE IS REACHING OUT TO ME - BUT DOESN’T REALLY WANT TO TALK - ONLY TO LET ME KNOW THAT THEY ARE AROUND OR SOMETHING. COACH COULD I SEE THOSE NUMBERS. I THINK THEY MAY PROVIDE A CLUE TO YOUR MOM’S WHEREABOUTS. SWEEPER OK - HERE IS THE NUMBER. COACH OK - I’LL LET THE AUTHORITIES KNOW THIS NUMBER TONIGHT. SWEEPER I GUESS IT’S CLEARING OFF - GOOD ENOUGH FOR PRACTICE RIGHT ? COACH YES - I SENT A GROUP TEXT AND EMAIL TO THE ENTIRE TEAM TO MEET UP IN HALF AN HOUR. TOMORROW WE HAVE A TEAM MEETING TO DISCUSS THE BERLIN TRIP. SWEEPER AM I GOING TO THE BERLIN SOCCER EUROPEAN INVITATIONAL ? COACH RIGHT NOW - NO. BUT THAT MAY CHANGE.

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SWEEPER I SURE HOPE SO - I MEAN I COULDN’T COME UP WITH ANY REASON OTHER THAN MOM BEING GONE FOR THEM TO NOT TO ALLOW ME TO GO. COACH WELL UNTIL your MOM IS FOUND - BERLIN IS A NO GO. I KNOW YOU’VE RAISED A TON OF MONEY AND HAVE BEEN TO ALL THE FUND RAISERS BUT............. I UNDERSTAND.

SWEEPER

COACH OK ON TO SOCCER FUNDAMENTALS. TONIGHT WE ARE WORKING ON OFFENSIVE PLAY - BEING MINDFUL OF MAKING THE DEFENSIVE PLAYER COMMIT. REMEMBER TAKE A QUICK STEP FORWARD WITH THE BALL AND THEN REVERSE, PASS, CROSS DRIBBLE, OR BUY TIME FOR HELP TO ARRIVE ON A BREAK. SWEEPER COACH, DO YOU WANT OUR BREAK MAN WITH THE BALL ASSUMING NO OFF SIDES, TO CONTINUE TO PUSH THE BALL DOWNFIELD - EVEN IF HE IS OUTNUMBERED. COACH YES - IN MOST SITUATIONS. IT IS THE ENERGY AND FEEL OF WORKING THE BALL DOWNFIELD THAT GIVES THE OFFENSIVE PLAYER THE EDGE. TAKE WHAT THE DEFENSE GIVES YOU. IF THEY ARE ALLOWING A SHOT FROM 25 YARDS - BY ALL MEANS WITH THE INSIDE OF YOUR FOREFOOT - LAUNCH IT WITH A CURVE AND JUST OVER THE GOALIE’S HEAD IF POSSIBLE. SWEEPER NOT RIGHT INTO THE GOALIE COACH YES - ALL GOALIES AT THIS LEVEL WILL STOP ANYTHING UNLESS IT IS A PERFECT SHOT - BUT WE ALL KNOW THAT CHANCES ONLY COME SO OFTEN IN A MATCH - AND WE ARE NOT REGROUPING AND LOSING THE BALL. IF YOU FEEL YOU CAN PULL THAT SHOT OFF - WELL THEN BY ALL MEANS DRILL THE BALL TO THE CORNER OF THE NET WITH A CURVE AND HIGH AS WE’VE PRACTICED. SWEEPER AS CAPTAIN - WE NEED STRONG VISION ALL THE TIME. CREATE, USE YOUR TEAMMATES WISELY AND OFTEN. THE PASS IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT OFFENSIVE PLAY IN SOCCER. 6


COACH ALWAYS REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND DRIBBLE TOWARDS THE OFFENSIVE GOAL IN ATTACK MODE. DRIBBLE TOWARDS A DEFENDER UNTIL HE LEAVES HIS MARK, AND THEN PASS OR BEAT HIM. KEEP UP THE DRILL - WORK HARDER ON OFFENSIVE KICKS WITH A HARD DRIVE AND IMPARTED CURVE TO THE BALL - REMEMBER HIGH AND INTO THE CORNER OF THE NET. SWEEPER COACH - CAN WE WORK ON ADVANCED TECHNIQUES - LIKE NON BOUNCE VOLLEYS - DIRECT KICKS INTO THE NET. COACH TOMORROW. SWEEPER IS THAT YOUR PHONE GOING OFF AGAIN ? SWEEPER YES - IT’S THE SAME # THAT DOESN’T CONNECT. COACH I WONDER WHO THAT COULD BE ? HERE COMES SALLY !

SWEEPER

sally mitchel HOW IS THE TEAM DOING ? COACH UNBELIEVABLY GREAT - HEY TEAM KEEP WORKING - I WANT THE ENTIRE TEAM TO DRILL THE BALL INTO THE NET FROM 30 YARDS OUT BEFORE WE RETIRE TONIGHT. sally mitcheLl WE HAVE A BIG BREAKTHROUGH WE THINK. COACH PRACTICE SWEEPER. I’LL TAKE CARE OF THIS STUFF. sally mitcheLl WELL THAT NUMBER THAT KEEPS GOING OFF SEEMS TO BE HIS SUPPOSED DEAD FATHER - WHO HAS REVERSED HIS NAME. COACH THAT IS PRETTY INTUITIVE. sally mitcheLl RIGHT - THE AUTHORITIES ARE TRYING TO PIECE THIS WHOLE THING TOGETHER. THEY NOW KNOW THAT THE NUMBER IS 7


COMING FROM A PLACE IN THE AREA OF LARKSPUR just north of the academy. IT IS WEIRD. NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON. COACH SOUNDS TO ME LIKE DRUGS OR SOME UNUSUAL NETWORK WE DON’T UNDERSTAND. But I STILL CANNOT take sweeper TO GERMANY NEXT WEEK. sally mitcheLl WELL I THINK I’VE TAKEN CARE OF THAT FOR YOU. HOW SO ?

COACH

sally mitcheLl WELL I PERSONALLY TALKED TO ALL THE PARENTS OF the PLAYERS ON COLORADO GOLD I - AND WELL THEY NOW KNOW THAT WHEN THIS TEAM GOES TO BERLIN, THEY WILL HAVE SPECIAL BODY GUARDS, PROTECTION, AND SAFETY. NO WAY !

COACH

sally mitcheLl YES THE COMMANDANT APPROVED IT - SINCE A COUPLE OF THE KIDS ON COLORADO GOLD I SOCCER TEAM - WELL THEIR PARENTS ARE STATIONED here at the academy. COACH UNBELIEVABLE - I’LL TAKE IT BECAUSE WE NEED SWEEPER. sally mitcheLl WELL THE TEAM WILL LEAVE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BY SPECIAL FLIGHT, AND ALL THE TEAM MEMBERS AND COACHES ARE COVERED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. COACH HOW DID YOU PULL THAT OFF ? sally mitcheLl SPECIAL PROTECTION IN THE DAYs of POST 9 - 11 dictate SPECIAL NEEDS. LET’S JUST SAY I tugged ON THE COMMANDANT’S STRINGS A BIT. THERE WILL BE A SPECIAL ops UNIT ON THE PLANE WITH SOME EQUIPMENT - SO IN ESSENCE THE FLIGHT WAS HAPPENING FROM PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE ANYWAY.

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COACH AND THE PARENTS SAID OK ? sally mitcheLl ONLY ONE DISSENTER WHO CALLED ME BACK AND FINALLY SAID SHE FELT SAFER ON THE MILITARY FLIGHT THAN THE CIVILIAN FLIGHT. MANY OF THE PARENTS ARE ALSO COMING. COACH GREAT - SO SWEEPER IS GOING. SHOULD I LET HIM KNOW ? sally mitcheLl I’LL LET HIM KNOW TONIGHT - I’LL DRIVE HIM HOME. I NEED TO TALK TO HIM. I KNOW YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE DONE A SUPERB JOB AT TAKING CARE OF THIS CHILD, AND WILL CONTINUE TO, BUT THE REALITY IS SETTING IN THAT SWEEPER MAY NEVER HAVE A REAL MOM AND DAD.... AND WE NEED TO DECIDE WHAT TO DO NEXT FOR THIS MARVELOUS boy. COACH I KNOW YOU ARE THINKING the ACADEMY CADET. RIGHT ? sally mitcheLl AT LEAST PREP SCHOOL - SWEEPER’S GRADES LEAVE A BIT TO BE DESIRED. COACH WELL I’LL FINISH UP PRACTICE AND LET THE TEAM KNOW THAT SWEEPER WILL BE GOING with us TO THE BERLIN INVITATIONAL. THEY WILL BE REALLY PUMPED HEARING THIS. sally mitcheLl AS THEY SHOULD BE. SWEEPER COME ALONG - I’M TAKING YOU OUT FOR SOME ICE CREAM. AT COLD STONE i hope.

SWEEPER

sally mitcheLl YES - COLD STONE. WE’LL BE THERE IN A MINUTE - JUST DOWN DELMONICO NEAR ROCKRIMMON BOULEVARD. SWEEPER WOW SALLY THIS CHOCOLATE IS REALLY GREAT. sally mitcheLl I’M GLAD YOU ENJOY IT.

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SWEEPER LET ME PAY YOU FOR IT - I HAVE SOME MONEY. sally mitcheLl NO THAT IS NOT NECESSARY - REMEMBER THE COMMANDANT AND I INDEED DO HAVE SOME MEANS; AND OUR MISSION IN LIFE IS THAT SIMPLE - TO JUST MAKE OUR YOUTH BETTER EVERY DAY IN ANY WAY WE CAN. SWEEPER IT IS SAD I’M NOT STAYING WITH YOU AND THE COMMANDANT. sally mitcheLl YES IT TRULY IS - BUT I DO HOPE IN FOUR YEARS THE ACADEMY AND THE UNITED STATES MILITARY WILL BE YOUR HOME. BUT THAT WILL BE YOUR DECISION. SWEEPER THAT IS IF WE DON’T GO AND PLAY FOR SPAIN IN THE EUROPEAN LEAGUE. sally mitcheLl OH - IT DOESN’T SURPRISE ME THAT SOME NOTABLE TEAM IS AFTER YOU - BUT AS YOU’VE SEEN - THE ACADEMY MAY BE THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOU. SWEEPER I AGREE - THAT IS WHAT I TOLD THE SPAIN PRO TEAM - AS MY REAL MOM ALWAYS SAID TO WORRY ABOUT SCHOOL AND THE REST WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. sally mitcheLl ABSOLUTELY. I TOTALLY AGREE. SWEEPER SO WHAT DID YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT ? YOU ARE ACTING WEIRD SALLY. sally mitcheLl WELL IT IS DIFFICULT TO TELL YOU ALL THIS BUT.......... SWEEPER KEEP TALKING AS MY ICE CREAM IS ONLY HALF DONE. sally mitcheLl WELL IT SEEMS THAT THE PHONE NUMBER YOU CANNOT RETURN PHONE CALLS FROM IS MAYBE YOUR DAD.... SWEEPER NO WAY - YOU ARE REALLY KIDDING. 10


sally mitcheLl WELL WITH THE SOCCER GAME’S SIGHTING AND THE NUMBER NOW LOCALIZED TO LARKSPUR - AND WHEN HE SUPPOSEDLY LEFT THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT THE ACADEMY LAST FALL - AND HEADED NORTH. WE ARE JUST TRYING TO PUT ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER. WE HAVEN’T SEEN NOR HEARD FROM YOUR MOM YET. SWEEPER I JUST HOPE MOM AND DAD - WHOM I’VE NEVER SEEN ARE STILL ALIVE. sally mitcheLl SO DO WE. AND YOU ARE GOING TO BERLIN NEXT WEEK WITH THE TEAM - I’VE WORKED ALL THAT OUT. SWEEPER GEE - IT SEEMS LIKE EVERYTHING WAS CAVING IN ON ME THE PAST FEW WEEKS - NOW IT SEEMS ALL MY PRAYERS ARE BEING ANSWERED. I JUST WANT TO SEE MY MOM AND DAD - I’LL GIVE UP SOCCER IF I HAVE TO JUST TO GET ANOTHER FIVE SECOND GLIMPSE OF THEM. sally mitcheLl WELL WE ARE OFF TO THE COACH’S HOUSE FOR.......... SWEEPER LEFTOVERS AND MORE PRAYERS. I CAN’T WAIT TO LET DEMI KNOW. JUST CAN’T WAIT. sally mitcheLl BUT REMEMBER WE HAVEN’T FOUND MOM AND DAD YET. YOU KNOW THEY MAY NOT BE ALIVE. BUT THAT PHONE NUMBER TRACE IS PROMISING. WE JUST CANNOT FIGURE OUT THE REASON FOR IT. SWEEPER I’LL SLEEP WELL TONIGHT. MOM AND DAD HOPEFULLY WILL RETURN SOON. AND GOING TO BERLIN THE BERLIN INVITATIONAL SOCCER TOURNAMENT. WHAT A DREAM COME TRUE!

END - SWEEPER VI

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