Anderson Brown, front left, plays in a recent soccer game.
As I stood on the sideline of a recent State Cup soccer game for my oldest son, Anderson, I watched as he stole the ball from his opponent and turned it toward the goal. After successfully dribbling in and out of several players, he was on his way to scoring.
I cheered loud and proud for my boy. My cheers, however, were cut short because suddenly, Anderson was clipped from behind while two other players came at him from either side, causing him to do do a near flip in the air before landing hard on the ground.
I shook my head in both sadness and frustration because while his efforts earned a foul and a free kick, this was one of seemingly countless times he had been double or triple teamed, resulting in an injury. Why? Because he is a standout player on his team who other teams see as a threat.
Sure, this is flattering and very much well-earned on his part, but it has come at a large cost both physically and mentally. The years of dedication to his sport, along with some significant inches grown this year has earned him a top-ranking spot in both his team and club, putting a target on his back each time he plays.
This target is not only seen by his opponent, but by many teammates because he’s the guy to rely on. “Get the ball to Anderson,”…