Because Gunnar's game is soccer, something is added; because he responds to soccer the same way American nine-year-olds respond to baseball, a lesson is implied; because the setting is never identified (though age classification of films and going to school on Saturday suggest it's not the U.S.), the lesson is blunted. But indeterminacy avoids discouraging readers who want a story in their own image, and Gunnar, patronized by his two big brothers until he makes good at soccer, will do nicely; he is very much the hesitant youngster firmed up. (Not without help from a sensible mother who buys him a first-rate ball and excuses his lateness for dinner.) In a slight twist on the usual twist of the ankle, Gunnar sprains his two weeks before the big team game, recovers steadily but not completely, plays with the doctor's consent even though it still hurts. Happiness is ""being with other boys in a team... working with a ball, all together. . ."" in any language.