They started a soccer team at work. Open tryouts/scrimmage. It’s been a long time since I played, and I’m out of shape, but what the heck. I always liked soccer, and how bad can I be? Like riding a bike, it’ll come back quick.
After a creditable five minutes at left fullback, I am sucking air. I sub for the goalie to get a rest. Immediately I make a save, deflecting the ball to the side. I run after the ball, but being pressured, kick it upfield. Right into the waiting feet of the other team, who easily puts the ball in the now-empty net. It is then I realize, what with being the goalie and all, I could have just picked the ball up.
On the next play a defensive mistake leads to a breakaway, one man attacking the goal with no defenders. I don’t mind that he scored, but he scored by dinking the ball through my legs. Ouch.
In the second half, I move back to my customary fullback spot. The other team has a corner kick, and I am guarding the back post. The ball lofts towards the goal. It is deflected by the goalie, and comes right past my head. Without any conscious thought, I reach up and slap at the ball. I am not the goalie at this point. Twenty-one other players stare at me. And my slap doesn’t even stop the ball. Absolutely pathetic.
And yet I am ready for more. Today I figured I’d have worked a few kinks out. I’ll still be out of shape, but at least I’ll be past the dumb mistakes. Yes sir, bring it on, I am ready.
On the very first play, running towards the ball, something in my thigh goes pop. I call for a sub, hobble off to the sideline, and wincingly make my way to the car.