Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Wed, 07/14/2021 - 16:38.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 was an overcast day with a high of 78 deg. F. The weather forecasters had predicted rain and thunderstorms starting in the afternoon. At 7:00 p.m. with not a raindrop in site – I picked up my bag with the tennis equipment – and I was on my way to Jefferson Park’s courts to play an hour of solo tennis.
The bag (one of the ubiquitous Marc’s plastic (made in China) bags) – contained my tennis racquet plus nine balls – one for each of the nine planets, a few extra balls, and of course my folding umbrella – to protect myself – just in case it started to rain. I always carry an umbrella with me when I go out – this way I am – to put it literally – always covered.
The park was almost abandoned – I was the lone tennis player (occupying one court out of eight) – not sure if there were any basketball players (the most popular sport in the park).
Did not hear any sounds, either, of children in the playground. Looks like the weather forecast kept every one home.
Around 7:30 p.m. – I noticed a well-built player hitting a soccer ball against the wire fence of one of the courts.
I was playing in the northwestern court along West 133rd Street – my favorite court.
So this player was hitting the soccer ball against the fence of the tennis court south of me. He was in the pathway in the middle of the park that connects West 133rd with West 132nd.
As I was hitting my tennis balls over the net – one at a time – the player was kicking his soccer ball against the wire fence.
Hit after hit! Kick after kick!
It was totally overcast with dark clouds above – and our sun’s radiance was nowhere to be seen. See attached photograph #6.
Three spheres – a tennis ball, a soccer ball, and our sun – on separate trajectories -- but somehow in harmony. What was missing was Beethoven’s music celebrating our universe!
The player hit the soccer ball -- way high – and it landed in the southern court.
The player came in – and started kicking the ball –left and right. And as the soccer ball rebounded from the wire fence – he would kick it right back.
Kick after kick!
Looked like every shot was another goal!
Well in his enthusiasm – he kicked the ball over the fence. The player left the tennis court.
After he got his ball – he was back at kicking it against the fence – kick after kick.
And I was swinging my racquet knocking the balls over to the other side – ball after ball – trying to send them into a trajectory around our planet. But alas – our planet’s gravity brought them down every time.
Same thing with the soccer ball – gravity would bring it down every time.
Not so with our sun – 93 million miles away -- hidden behind the clouds -- spinning and moving with other 250 billion stars in our galaxy – the Milky Way!
And guess what –it started to rain at exactly 8:00 p.m. I made a run for my bag – got out the umbrella, retrieved my balls – put them in the Marc’s bag – and took cover under one of the sycamore trees – watching the rain pour down accompanied by loud thunder.
Nature sure knows how to put up a show!
There was no lightening!
The two courts along West 133rd have five sycamore trees -- that provide partial shade from the evening sun and cover to players from the occasional rain.
While I was waiting under the tree for the rain to stop – our soccer player – was kicking his ball against the fence – kick after kick -- undeterred by the pouring rain.
After a few minutes the rain started to ease off and I decided to walk home. The rain in Cleveland – does stop, most of the time, after a few minutes. In India, where I come from, during the monsoons – it rains for hours on end – and by the time you reach your destination – you are in knee-deep water on the flooded streets – and fully soaked.
As I was walking down West 133rd for the 5-minute walk home – I saw the player move to the basketball courts (there are two of them – side by side).
I decided to go and observe his play up-close.
The rain started increasing in intensity – as did the thunder. Soon I was standing in a 3-inch deep puddle at the western entrance to the basketball courts.
My camera was out -- the player looked at me with a smile – a gentleman’s way to say -- hello and that it was all right to photograph him.
There were only two of us in the park – in pouring rain -- the player -- out in the open -- and an amateur photographer under the cover of an umbrella capturing his graceful moves.
He had total control of his soccer ball – he knew he was in a basketball court with a soccer ball:
– sometimes he would chase the ball and kick it like a soccer ball – see #1

-- most of the time he would kick the ball against the fence – see #2. This was his favorite move. The ball would rebound and he would kick it back.

-- sometimes he would throw the ball into the hoop – see #3.
-- and when the ball started coming down -- he would hit it with his head – sending it sky high – see #4.

-- and once in a while – he looked surprised when the ball with the headshot overshot the fence – see #5.

The player asked where I was from?
He said he was from Argentina – and remarked that his country just beat Brazil 1-0 in the Copa America (South American Football Championship) 2021 Final.
I complemented him on his skillful playing!
The rain and thunder stopped. I made my way home as a drenched warrior – checked the rain gage – found that we got half an inch of rain in 35 minutes: 8:00 to 8:35 p.m.
Once inside – I changed my wet clothes.
What an evening – went out to play solo tennis and saw a gentleman player from another continent display his skills with a soccer ball in a basketball court!
Enjoy the summer – both wet and dry days!

UPDATE: 07-19-21

I met our gentleman soccer player from Argentina today.

His name is Gonzalo Andrada!



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