The Adventures of Billy and Bobby
Book 3, Chapter 11
Bikes and Soccer
by Greg Wright
Daniel raced down the side of the soccer field, towards the goal. Seeing himself blocked, he passed the ball to Reggie, who was conveniently positioned in front of the goal. Reggie kicked the ball high. It would have gone in, but a defending player gave in to his natural impulses and stopped the ball with his left hand. Suddenly, he heard the physical education teacher blow his whistle and announce, "Penalty kick. Daniel, you take it."
In soccer, it is illegal for anyone to touch the ball with his hands, except for the goalie or someone making a throw-in. It is especially harmful if someone from the defending team touches the ball with his hands while in the penalty box, in front of the goal. This permits the attacking team to take a penalty kick. Penalty kicks are almost always successful. All players have to leave the penalty box area, except for the goalie and the kicker. The goalie cannot move until the ball is actually kicked. Ninety percent of the time, he will not be able stop the ball.
This was a great opportunity for Daniel to shine, and although some of his friends had tried to teach him how to kick better, he was not ready, yet, and he missed. The ball hit the top of the goal area and bounced back out into the area of play. Fortunately, one of Danielís teammates was alert, and they scored, anyway.
Meanwhile, Bobby and Reggie went over to Daniel to encourage him.
"Daniel, I know you can kick better. Why donít you let us help you," Reggie offered.
"Yes Daniel," Bobby encouraged, "there is nothing magic about kicking a soccer ball accurately. Why donít you all come over to my house after school. Weíll have soccer practice."
"Thatís a great idea," Reggie continued, "with just a little practice and the right techniques, Iím sure we can help you to be a better kicker."
"Well okay," Daniel answered, "I guess itís worth a try."
So the soccer practice was arranged, although Reggie would have to drop by home, first. He had no other way to communicate where he was, since his house did not have a telephone.
Bobby invited Billy over, as well. When Reggie didnít come when expected, they practiced on their own. Daniel was instructed to never kick the ball with his toe.
"You should try to kick the ball with the laces of your shoe," Bobby instructed.
So, while Billy served as goalie, Bobby passed the ball to Daniel so he could kick. This time, Daniel learned very quickly. Bobby went on teach Daniel when and how he should kick with the side of his foot, and that went well.
Then Reggie arrived. Reggie looked very tired. It was obvious to everyone why he was late; his bike chain was broken.
"Cheer up Reggie," Bobby encouraged, "I have another bike chain in the garage.
Billy helped Reggie remove the broken chain and lay it out lengthwise on the concrete. Then, Bobby placed the new chain beside it to measure it. Afterwards, Bobby used a chain tool to disconnect the unneeded links from the new chain.
Reggie placed the new chain on the bike and tried to connect the links, but he could not bring them together. Bobby retrieved some needle nose pliers and used those to stretch the chain while Reggie connected the links.
"Oh good, itís done," Reggie cheered. "I sure am glad you had a spare chain. How much do I owe you?"
"Oh nothing," Bobby responded, "I got a real good deal on the chain; I bought it at a bike shop that was going out of business."
"Okay, but thanks," Reggie continued. "By the way, I heard some wild news when I got home. You guys probably noticed that Ross and Ronald were not in school today."
"Well, itís not that I missed them," Daniel remarked.
"It turns out that there was a drug bust, last night. Ross and Ronald were arrested, along with about half of my old gang. Guys, if I had not just recently become a Christian, I would have been there and would have been arrested. Thanks to you guys, Iím here having fun instead of sitting in a jail cell."
"Youíre a different Reggie now, anyway," Daniel observed. "The old Reggie that smoked pot and bullied people is gone. Everyone is wondering what happened to you."
"My old gang has been wondering about me too," Reggie mentioned sadly. "But, I donít miss those guys. I donít know what I ever saw in them. Everyone who joined my gang had to first get beat up. They call it being clicked in. Then, we had to either vandalize property or steal something. Some of the old gang members are in jail and some of them are dead. One of them died when he tried to quit the gang. They have this rule that when you leave the gang, you have to be beat up, again. They call that being clicked out. And, theyíve told me that Iím still a member until I get officially clicked out.
"Are you going to let them do that to you?" Billy asked.
"Iím not sure what to do," Reggie responded. "I donít think they would hurt me too bad, unless they thought I was part of the drug bust, unless they thought I ratted on them."
"I wouldnít risk it," Bobby warned. "You might wind up in the hospital or dead."
"I donít know what choice I have," Reggie continued. "I canít leave the neighborhood, and almost everyone in the neighborhood is in this gang. I could defend myself against any one of them one-on-one. But, there is no way I could fight ten or twenty guys at once.
"Would it help if you went to the police?" Daniel asked.
"It would not help in my case. The police will help if you have information on other gang members. If you are willing to rat on someone else, sometimes they will work to protect you and help you get relocated. But, I donít want to get the other guys in trouble."
"What about Social Services, they might help," Bobby suggested.
"I donít know," Reggie responded. "Maybe I should call them. Look, itís getting dark; Iíd better be going. Now, more than ever, I donít want to be out after dark."
"Okay Reggie, see you tomorrow on the soccer field," Daniel called.
Daniel, Billy, and Bobby played soccer for a little while longer. Then, they went home.
The next day was the first ever that Daniel looked forward to school recreation. And he very much hoped that they would play soccer again.
However, right before the recreation period, the principal walked into the classroom.
"Class," he began, "I have an urgent announcement, and I need your help. Reggie never made it home last night. No one knows where he is."