Love

by Tom Swift

Louden Swain: “You never took a night off to see me wrestle before. They’ll dock you for that.”

Elmo: “Hey, kid — money ain’t everything.”

Louden Swain: “It’s not that big a deal, Elmo. I mean, it’s six lousy minutes on the mat, if that.”

Elmo: “You ever hear of Pele?”

Louden Swain: “Yeah, he’s a … a soccer player.”

Elmo: “A very famous soccer player.”

[Pause]

Elmo: “I was in the room here one day …. watchin’ the Mexican channel on TV. I don’t know nothin’ about Pele. But I’m watchin’ what this guy can do with a ball and his feet. Next thing I know, he jumps in the air and flips into a somersault and kicks the ball in — upside down and backwards … the goddamn goalie never knew what the fuck hit him.

“Pele gets excited and he rips off his jersey and starts running around the stadium, waving it around his head. Everybody’s screaming in Spanish. And I’m here, sitting alone in my room, and I start crying.”

[Pause]

Elmo: “That’s right, I start crying. Because another human being, a species that I happen to belong to, could kick a ball, and lift himself — and the rest of us sad-assed human beings — up to a better place to be, if only for a minute …

“Let me tell ya, kid, it was pretty goddamned glorious.

“It ain’t the six minutes … it’s what happens in that six minutes.”

Vision Quest (1985)