My boys play club soccer in southern California, and a few weekends ago they had the opportunity to be present during a promo stop for David Beckham and retired French soccer star Zinedine Zidane (who ain't half-bad himself). Adidas was kicking off a program to establish soccer fields with artificial turf throughout the inner city. I think they chose our soccer field to announce the program because it's relatively new and has artificial turf. Anyway, our club soccer players along with kids from AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) were invited to be "window dressing" at the event. Another So Cal team actually got to play in a scrimmage with Becks and Zizou (that team is sponsored by Adidas and our teams are sponsored by Nike - I think that's why those kids got to play the scrimmage and not ours). The kids also received shorts, jerseys, and cleats from Adidas, which was cool.
The kids sat at the foot of the stage where Becks and Zizou were introduced, and the parents got to sit on bleachers set up on the field and take pictures. There was also an area for the media. The crowd went nuts when they finally made their appearance. They answered a few questions from the media and placed their feet in cement for their footprints. After they wiped their feet off with towels, they tossed the towels out to the kids!
Following the footprint ceremony, they played a scrimmage against a team of boys and a team of girls. Zizou knocked one of the kids over and immediately extended his hand to help him up. I'm sure that kid's going to treasure that moment forever!
It was very fun to watch. After the scrimmage, the rest of the kids were invited back onto the field for a group picture. As my older son walked past Beckham, he asked him for his sweat towel, which Beckham tossed to him! (He hasn't washed it yet, nor will he ever wash it!) Then during the group picture, my older son, who was the tallest kid out there (long story) stood in the back row next to Beckham, who put his arm around him. We're still trying to get a copy of that picture from the media who was there taking the pictures.
We still got lots of great pictures, and it was an exciting day for the kids (and the moms). I managed to restrain myself, although one of the moms, who happens to be British, yelled out after the footprints, "David, you can come to our house later to wash your feet." LOL
Of course, all did not end completely happily for Becks as he was booed last weekend when he returned to the L.A. Galaxy when they played against his former team AC Milan. Becks has been trying to leave the Galaxy to play with Milan (who had him on loan for a few months), and the L.A. fans don't appreciate that. Of course, we know his wife loves L.A.
So that was my brush with David Beckham, who was the inspiration for my as-yet un-sold, unpublished romantic comedy, Kick It Up, about an English soccer star (this one single) who comes to L.A. to play soccer and winds up in all kinds of trouble. And no...I didn't bring my manuscript to the field.