Sara cringed visibly as the stats updated on everyone’s phones. One minute before the half ended, Michael had taken just 1,312 steps. The other midfielders all topped 3,000. She’d like to think her son was better positioned, more efficient in his movements, but the truth is he was just lazy, and all the parents knew that.
Standing just behind her, Ben knew what she was thinking. Sara was a nervous mother, and Michael was a tough kid. He saw other people’s faults, but not his own. She hated the fact that each kid now wore a wristband that constantly transmitted position data to the game management system, and that even the ball had sensors embedded in it.
Ben’s son, Tim, was middle of the pack: he kicked about as hard as the others, ran slightly faster, and kept his position a bit better. The stats made him look better than other parents would have assumed. Tim seldom made the big play, but he was steady and reliable.
Ben tapped Sara on the shoulder. “Does Michael look at the stats after a game?”
Sara bit her lip, then shook her head. “He says stats are stupid, they don’t paint the whole picture. He tells me running around needlessly just wears the others out. He’s one of those kids who just can’t conceive that he isn’t God’s gift to Earth.”
Ben nodded sympathetically. “Tim’s older brother was a bit like that. They grow out of it.”
“I should live that long,” said Sara, her eyes revealing she was immediately sorry to have said that.
The half ended, and Frank Cooper walked up to them. Frank had probably memorized the stats. “Johnny kicked that last shot 52 miles per hour. Nearly took the keeper’s head off.”
Michael and Sara smiled weakly, hoping Frank would walk right by them. He seemed oblivious to the fact that the shot sailed right over the net, and that if once in his life his son passed the ball then the team would probably be ahead right now instead of tied.
“Coach is sketching out a new play,” shouted Alice, and most parents picked up tablets to track the halftime plan.
Sara left to get a coffee.