I Believe in Kangaroo Leather
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I Believe in Kangaroo Leather

By: Lauren Grasinger

As I wake up to the early morning sunrise, where the sky is the color of red wine held up in the sun with tints of mystery foreshadowing what the new day will bring, I throw on the number twenty three and take off to the soccer field. As I reach into my bag, searching for the rough kangaroo leather of my bright tangerine cleats, thoughts of self-defeat surface in my mind. However, they are quickly washed away with the smooth waves of my iPod, drowning out the apprehension. I wedge my foot into one of the cleats; it hugs my foot like a clay mold. I loop the laces around each foot twice, tying the knot of trust.

Arriving at the misty field, where every blade of grass is wearing a hat of ice—creating the perfect texture for the ball to skim swiftly through the grass which causes unexpected chaos among defenders, a forward’s dream—I become overwhelming excited for this perfect morning of soccer. As I cross the field, I look back at the footprints that show my past and it makes me question the path I have chosen. The team joins as one; warm-up is the spark that ignites the fire, burning away all the disbelief and doubts. The game begins and it is a fight to keep the fire burning. Running, sprinting, pinching; my cleats sinking into the soft grass, my heart relying on them to get me through. The game is over, win or lose; it is always a battle within myself, judging my actions and progression with every game. I pull off my jersey; I can taste the salt running down my face into my mouth and eyes, as I am pulled from drowning in an ocean of reality. Am I good enough to go further with this career? Nope. I threw the number twenty-three into the bottom of my beaten, demolished bag. I left my shin-guards rotting with dried sweat and fear of abandonment on the crisp grass. I had let my dreams evaporate.

I look back at my journey—the pigtails flopping, the butterflies being chased, the toe poking, the first goals being scored—and reflect on all the memories and lessons engraved on my heart, abandoned tombstones in a weeded graveyard. The kangaroo leather is the culprit; I blame everything on it. The success, the leadership, the aspirations, the determination, the loss, the failures, the rejections; are all a part of the game, a part of life. There has been one constant reliance my entire life that doesn’t change with the moons, or the sunrises, or the time—I believe in the kangaroo leather.

The moment your feet become intertwined with its strong, soft texture, there is a bond that cannot be broken, no matter how much your soul weighs or the sharpness of your heart. I believe in the kangaroo leather. All of the morals and values that are molded to my feet will help me walk valiantly into the horizons of my future.

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