Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday Night Soccer Lights



It's Saturday morning, I have a BOWL full of coffee, and the boy is watching iCarly.  It's a perfect time to write, so that I can at least say that I accomplished ONE thing today.  Gee, that sounds familiar.

I'm going to eat crow here a little, so I'll just get it over with.  I'm not a soccer fan--never have been.  I think that goes way back to elementary and middle school when I was forced to play it in PE.  I didn't like running around on the bumpy field because I twisted my ankles a lot.  I didn't like to engage with other players, because I hated getting kicked in the shins. And finally, I'm not a fan of balls being kicked at my face.  No, I lied.  That wasn't the final reason.  Let's face it, I'm not a team player.  I can't take the pressure of other people relying on my non-existent athletic prowess, I'm not all that competitive (wait, did I say that?), and I would sometimes rather die than be in the middle of a field with a bunch of people looking at me.  Uggh.  I digress.

I've tried to watch soccer in the past, mainly because people I like dig it, (a couple of them are actually fairly smart people, too) but it's never really stuck.  It's always seemed like just a lot of running back and forth with no satisfaction, and NOT "The Beautiful Game" they all claim it to be.  (I'll skip over the many reasons that basketball is clearly more beautiful.)  Anyway, I watched just to have some knowledge of what they were constantly babbling about, but it wasn't fun for me, other than relishing in the colloquialisms of British soccer announcers.  Now that is beautiful!

But last night, I was convinced to attend the season home opener for the high school varsity teams.  There were a lot of good reasons to go:  support the coach of the girls' team (one of those fanatic friends I mentioned), support the very talented PA announcer (another fanatic, but the one that I live with) in his first game of the season, and because a good friend sweet-talked me into it.  I started off distracted--it was chilly, it was breezy, I thought it might rain.  That announcer I spoke of--He is fantastic, but I sometimes can't listen to him because it embarrasses me how good he is and how big his voice is in the stadium.  It's silly, I know, but I get the heebie jeebies sitting there in the middle of parents from school and members of the community who all know that it's my hubby up there with the big, booming, ultra-enthusiastic voice that should be doing bigger and better things.  But that's neither here nor there.

I really didn't expect to stay the entire time.  Not only was it a soccer game, it was a DOUBLE HEADER on cold metal bleachers with my bad hip.  But, I snuggled under a blanket with my friends, enjoying watching and letting the boy make friends with other kids that were there and run around having a blast, and I Actually.  Enjoyed. The games.  Yes, I said it.  The girls lost their game, but they played very well, and did some great things--especially the goalie, whom I have mad respect for.  Talk about the pressure!   I hope it's a sign of a good season to come.  The boys' game was a different story altogether, though.  (I'm going to make an unpopular statement here and say that I'm rarely a fan of watching women play anything.  I know, I know.)  But the boys were more aggressive, more athletic, and faster-paced.  There were yellow cards.  There was showboating.  And there was scoring--they stuck it to their opponents with a 4-2 victory.  All of those things are good for keeping my attention, and I'm going to be bold here and say that it was a more exciting game than most of the professional soccer games I've watched.  (Go ahead, soccer people--tell me I liked it for all the WRONG reasons!)

I don't know that I'll be a regular spectator.  There are too many other factors at play convincing me NOT to go.  But I enjoyed it, and I see the appeal.  I also see the danger!  One other thing I left the games with last night was a healthy fear of The Dangerous Game.  I inhaled sharply on one too many occasions when heads banged against each other, elbows flew in faces, and kids went tumbling ass over tea kettle on the turf.  I know how much falls hurt at my turtle's pace, and can't imagine that those kids hop right back up and keep playing without crying.  So, when the boy said he wanted to play (American) football last night, I almost went for it, because there are at least helmets, pads, and full-length pants.  No way is he playing soccer, beautiful or not.

(Note:  This started as a Saturday Six-Pack, but turns out, I had a lot to say about soccer.  Who knew?)

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