It was a beautiful, summer day in the middle of September. Alone in the cloudless, crystal blue sky, the sun reserved its 2 o’clock spot. Meanwhile, usual everyday activities assumed at State Correctional Center: Inmates stood anxiously at canteen windows with their orange net bags; bored inmates loitered the boulevard (walkways) to say “what’s up?” to their fellow convicts or female staff; workout junkies crowded the weight pits; and men walked around the rec yard tracks, or talked to their friends through the 12-foot fences.
“Four on four. It’s me, you, Jason, and Gran.” I said to one of my soccer buddies. Although the odds weren’t in our favor, our confidence motivated us to win. Minutes after the game’s first touch, I was distracted by loud radios and jiggling keys. I saw correction officers and nurses – like the entire medical department – running on the boulevard with a stretcher heading to N unit (a housing unit). “Someone passed out from smoking that darn spice” was my initial thought. Once the nurses disappeared into the building, I got back into the game.
With mesmerizing footwork, I dribbled the ball down the left side of the field. As always, I looked in the goalkeeper’s box for an open teammate. No one was there to attack. Using my lightening speed, I overstepped the ball twice, drifted right, and passed a defender. Within 15-yards of striking distance, I cocked back my right leg to fire, but instead, I back-heeled passed the ball to Jason, who was behind me. I cleared out and created space for him to shoot. With no mercy at all, Jason aimed and discharged a missile. Unfortunately, the ball whistled over the crossbar.