Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       John F. Kennedy

Match in the Rain


Eric was the son of a coach. He always tried to meet his father’s expectations, so from the early ages he trained hard and at the age of 13 became the captain ofhis football team. In addition to the fact that Eric was the best player on the team, he was very good at school. Eric was a leader and a role model for peers. Everyone was amazed at how he managed to combine daily intensive workouts and, at the same time, to have the best scores for academic achievement.
All the girls of the scgool dreamed of dating Eric. And the guys were proud of his friendship. Everyone considered him successful and happy.
But Eric himself, although he was always cheerful and smiling, wasn’t happy deep down. Since childhood he felt that his father was more concerned about the success of the team than about him. His goal was the prestige of the team. He believed that victory was the most important thing, and he tried to ensure his students that sport was the basic occupation in their life. 
Erik felt himself only as an instrument in his father’s hands. In case of defeat he, as the captain of the team, had to take the greatest share of criticism from the stern coach.
Afraid to disappoint his father, Eric could not confess to him, that much more than sports, he loved music and painting. He even sneaked out to art galleries and parties in the clubs. It lasted until he met Zara. Once, when he was with friends in the student’s club, suddenly a graceful red-haired girl with a guitar came out onto the stage. She smiled charmingly and announced that it was her debut with a new song in this club today. And with that smile she captivated Eric’s imagination. He couldn’t take his eyes off the singing girl. And she was singing, as if for him, looking into his eyes …
That night they talked for a long time about music, played guitar and sang their favorite songs. And immediately they felt how close they were to each other.
Zara was the first to whom Eric told his secret. And the girl was extremely surprised that the most popular guy in college, the famous captain of the football team, felt so unhappy. Zara always dealt only with what she really was interested in. Once, while still a little girl, she picked up a guitar and since then has not parted with her favorite instrument for many years. She was airy, free and as if … woven from the sunlight. Eric reached out to her with all his heart, and Zara comforted him, pleased him, gave him love and tenderness.
The young man started missing training, used any excuse to slip away from them, and being on the field, did not work at full strength, he became distracted and dreamy. It didn’t slip away from Brian, Eric’s father and coach. Though the son never told him anything about Zara, Brian began to suspect about the reasons for his son’s cooling to training, and in the evenings he lectured him, that the captain of the team shouldn’t forget about his responsibility, to be distracted by something extraneous, to leave the planned path.
And so it could not last long. Eric was tormented by guilt before his father and was afraid to lose Zara, whom he  considered the sense and joy of his life. Seeing this, Zara once said that they would never be happy if Eric did not tell Brian about their feelings. He must know the truth about his son’s life!
Meanwhile, the playoffs were approaching. Eric invited Zara to the game as his girlfriend. But surprising to him the girl firmly refused. “It’s impossible if you don’t tell your father about me!”
Eric was discouraged. He felt betrayed and deceived. And although he knew in his heart that Zara was right, he was still angry and resentful towards her. For a week the lovers didn’t talk, didn’t call and avoided each other. Each of them swore not to make it up first.
And then the day of the match came. Although Erik knew that Zara wouldn’t come, he kept glancing at the empty seat in the front row, which he reserved for her, and hoped that a familiar fiery red bang would flash in the crowd …
Eric could not concentrate. He was so upset that it couldn’t not affect the game of the whole team. And by the end of the first half, they lagged behind their opponent. The father was furious, teammates were nervous and threw astonished looks at Eric.
In addition, during the break, it began to rain, which soon turned into a heavy downpour. With a force of will Eric pulled himself together and went out onto  the field. And then he saw Zara, who was squeezing toward him through the crowd. She was on the podium from the beginning of the match, but all this time she did not want to be noticed. But at the end she couldn’t stand the view of frustrated Eric. The girl felt guilty in his failure, she repented and was ready to rush to his neck.
Eric rushed to meet his beloved.
But suddenly he stopped. He asked his friend to take on the role of the captain of the team, went to his father and handed him a helmet: “Forgive me, Dad!” And then turned to Zara. “I love you, Zara! Please, be with me! “- he said, and in front of the whole stadium hugged and kissed the girl.
It seemed that the whole stadium forgot about football and pouring rain. Everyone shouted “Hooray!” And waved with scarves, ribbons and flags.
Under the delighted exclamations of spectators Zara and Eric, holding hands, came out outside the stadium. For a time, happy and confused, they walked in silence. And then Eric said: “You know, I have never felt so free and happyl!”
On that day, the college team lost. But at dinner Eric’s father did not say a negative word. They were remembering the day he first met his mother, their first hikes in the mountains and rock’n’roll fests… And Eric, who always tried to get up from the table as soon as possible, today stayed longer with his parents, listening to their stories. He finally felt himself in his family.