The field is flattened like a book too long left open. There is the newly painted white crease of the spine, there the muddy dog-eared corner. The boys wait in their lines. The shouts are just beginning.

The parents fill the space around the soccer game, the space between the lines and trees, with their puffs of cigarette smoke, their folded corduroy arms, their red-white coolers and blue-pink baby strollers of silent brothers and sisters wrapped in afghans. The afghans are all gaudy, every one, because a prominent theory holds that children of the seventies should be exposed to mathematical patterns. Tangerine and lime geometry. The theory will pass, and the afghans will find themselves on the beds of guest rooms, then in attics, then in bags out on the sidewalk. These parents are intent on their children’s success, on their young boys out on the field this championship game. The boys know this. The boys, in their shiny striped shirts and long bright socks, are still trying to remember the rules to this game.

The autumn trees are quaking their crisp leaves, dropping them in dozens to the field, lurid hands or gloves thrown into a ring.