Everything hurts right now. My knees ache, my calves are burning, I’m pretty certain I broke my elbow, and it feels like I ripped every muscle in my abdomen.

Tonight I played pick-up soccer with my brother and some people from his co-ed league. We were supposed to start at 6:30, but we spent the first half-hour watching our self-appointed captain argue with the other team’s leader about how many would play on each side, who would play on each side, should we just play light shirts vs. dark shirts, which direction the makeshift field should be aligned, etc. Some of us simply wanted to play ball and were getting increasingly irritated. One of my co-workers showed up to play, but had to leave before we even kicked off.

Eventually we started playing. I suppose that playing lights vs. darks would’ve made too much sense, because we ended up with players on both teams wearing all sorts of colors. This was pretty darn confusing, since there were three sets of people who looked similar from ten yards away, but were playing on different teams.

We must’ve had close to twenty people playing on half a football field, so it was pretty cramped. All the same, my team went up four- or five-zip pretty quickly. Turns out nobody had bothered to count the number of people on each side, and our side had a 12 to 8 advantage. It took a while to figure that out, because of the mix’n’match jersey situation. I switched to the other team, as did another one of our players—though it took a while for my new teammates to figure out that they didn’t have to cover me anymore.

That evened the teams out a little more, and the game became more competitive and more fun. There were two players on my team who knew how to play. I judge that based on whether they seemed to know what I wanted them to do, and whether I coudl read what they wanted me to do. Now, we had some guys who could shoot and dribble and pass well, but that’s not the same as knowing how to play. Someone who knows how to play knows where and when to shoot, or pass, or dribble… or just get out of the way.

Unfortunately, those two players had me on their team. I played poorly, but I’ll give myself an excuse since it was only the second time I’d played in the last year. It’s frustrating to know what you want to do with the ball, but only have a 50% chance of success. Those swerving crosses either stay way too low or go flying off the far side of the field. Flicks either don’t go high enough or they go straight up. And the whole “breathing” thing becomes difficult when you haven’t exactly been exercising regularly since you were, oh, say, sixteen.

Late in the game, I ran right smack into a pick—which doesn’t happen very often in soccer, because it’s illegal. But the guy didn’t mean to do it, and I’m sure that my elbow will eventually bend the right way. I fell flat on my rear-end trying to flick a ball down the line, so that hurt. Happily, my pride is intact because my brother didn’t nutmeg me the few times I went up against him.

We played for an hour, and then got to the “next-goal-wins-so-we-can-get-the-hell-out-of-here” phase of the game. Three next-goals and twenty minutes later, we finally left. It was fun, and if I’m able to walk this weekend (and if the Bears aren’t on TV) I’ll go back again.

Thank God my emergency lesson plans are on file.

2 Responses to “Agony.”

  1. ticklemeelmo Says:
    October 14th, 2006 at 7:38 PM

Yeah some of us form school have a pick up game every saturday at 6 at memorial park. you should join us!

  1. ticklemeelmo Says:
    October 25th, 2006 at 9:19 PM

“coudl”. Enough said.