Better late than never
The spring travel soccer season was well under way, with the sixth game scheduled for Winchester, a thirty to forty-minute drive from our house in Concord (depending on traffic). Because I had driven to games in Winchester many times, I knew where the soccer fields were and the quickest way to get there. On this particular Saturday, however, Janice, the mother of Hunter's best friend and teammate, Nicholas, wanted to drive them to the game. Since Taylor's soccer game that day was in the opposite direction from Winchester, I was only too happy to oblige Janice's request.
When we had received the game schedules earlier that spring my husband and I had divvied up the driving chores. Every other Saturday, if it was an away game, I would drive. There were ten Saturday games, five home, five away. Because Hunter and Taylor were on different teams, that meant ten away games, ten home games that season.
So that we both got to see Hunter and Taylor play, and so one of us would always be at each of their games, we planned to each attend one of our sons' games each week and switch off the next week. Because the parents of our sons' teammates knew that we always attended their games, we usually ended up driving a mini-van full of players to away games.
I was looking forward to having a Saturday free to do something other than go to a soccer game, which, when all was said and done, usually gobbled up a 3 ½ hour chunk of the day for an away game, an hour less for a home game, assuming everything went smoothly, which wasn't always the case. Sometimes games started late because the previous game ran late, or the referee didn't show up on time or at all.
Hunter and Nicholas needed to be to the field to loosen up and practice at 12:30 p.m. for the 1:00 p.m. game start. This meant Janice needed to pick up Hunter no later than 11:30 a.m., which would give her an extra ten minutes cushion if there was extra traffic. I confirmed the plan with Janice on the Wednesday before the game.
Game day came and, at 11:30 a.m., Hunter was outside in his uniform kicking the ball against a wall. When I looked outside at 11:40, he was still there. As noon approached, Hunter became a bit concerned. I told him not to worry; that Janice and Nicholas would be pulling in the driveway any minute.
Hunter had been on time for every game and practice so far that season. With good reason: his coach made late-arriving players run two laps around the field and sit out most of the first half as punishment. At 12:00 p.m. I called Janice at home, hoping that she wouldn't answer because she was already on her way. No answer. Fifteen minutes later, with Janice nowhere in sight, Hunter and I had become concerned. Had there been an accident? I told Hunter we would wait 15 more minutes and, if she didn't show up, I would drive him.