As my overworn sneakers plunged into the oozing slush, a sharp gust whipped across my stinging eyes. The light patter of swift shoes behind me cued a redoubled effort to jog, and I strained my lungs in the frigid air. An unbidden cough, laden with the viscous mucus of exertion, burgeoned through my tiring frame.
With a last skid on the soppy turf, my stinging legs slowed to approach the ball. One, two, three strides—and a single foot extended backward. Abruptly, my figure twisted, slinging the soiled shoe ahead to smack bluntly against slippery plastic hexagons. The second set of feet drew near, and our eyes traced the soaring curve over the torn and tangled net.
A moment or two of turbulent huffing, then:
Our hoarse wheezing bubbled into punctuated laughter.