BERKELEY, CALIF. – After a long and dedicated fight, a pair of red Adidas soccer cleats reached their final resting place on Sunday afternoon. Sources in California reported the shoes had been walking their last steps for several weeks. Their owner, overindulgent athlete, Dan Stevens, was quite thoughtful in commemorating their passing.
Those shoes have served me well for the last ten years. Whether scoring an own goal or striking out, I always knew those shoes would carry me, through the sadness, back to the sideline.
The red Adidas cleats were purchased from Olympia Sports in Middlebury, Vermont, on September 20, 2004. Mr. Stevens had signed up for his first intramural soccer team, and bought the cleats to carry him on the field. The fortuitous purchase proved to be an historic pairing.
In their youth, the cleats served Mr. Stevens well during his undistinguished years. Mr. Stevens struggled to gain traction playing soccer and softball in Vermont. The pair reached their peak, though, after moving to Washington.
On a hot, greasy summer day, the red Adidas could be found paroling the unkempt turf of the National Mall. Mr. Stevens was engaged in a great battle between his Harkin’s Heroes and the Chairmen’s dozen that belonged to archival Sen. Charles Grassley. As the Heroes took the field for the bottom of the seventh, they scrambled to hold on their three-run lead.
After just a few hits, the tying run was on second base, with only one out left. Mr. Stevens’ boyhood friend, a one Neil Ruhland stepped to the plate. He hit a shot just out of reach of the shortstop, barreling towards Mr. Stevens and his red Adiddas shoes. Mr. Stevens, dug in, used the depth of the cleats, and scooped the ball up in one motion. He twisted his body, and threw everything he could into his arm, launching the orb towards the final out.
The runner rounded third, the ball careened through the air, and Mr. Stevens tumbled to the ground. As a silence hummed over the crowd, the Heroes first basemen, who was covering home, snatched the ball out of the air, and tagged the runner out. The red Adidas cleats had won their greatest victory.
After several victories in softball and baseball, the red Adidas shoes found themselves out of favor in 2013 Mr. Stevens, on a “life-changing quest,” withdrew from organized sports for two years. In 2015, however, the cleats surged back to life for one last campaign. Mr. Stevens had taken up soccer once again.
A week before the end of the season, though, the cleats could no longer keep it together. On a cut over the middle, they suffered a mortal gash to their right lining. Not understanding the injury, Mr. Stevens played on, but only made the wound larger.
On May 3, 2015 at 4:45, the red Adidas were laid to rest in a large dumpster near the Gilman Fields in Berkeley California. Mr. Stevens and his fellow soccer players conducted the small, parabolic, ceremony without a great deal of fanfare.
Family of the red Adidas ask that in lieu of presents, you encourage Mr. Stevens to buy more shoes.
Beautiful tribute, Dan