I was thinking the other day (and even tweeted to this effect) that with piano lessons and now a soccer team*, I’m starting to feel like I’m regressing to childhood, but in a fun, wholesome and enriching way. I had lunch today with one of my friends and was bringing her up to speed on my life, which at the moment mainly entails limping after last week’s soccer game. She comment, “Wow. Have you noticed your schedule is starting to resemble that of a… 7-year-old?”
“I know!” I laughed. “But it’s cool. Start to worry, though, when you see me in the entry way of Tom Thumb in a Girl Scouts uniform with my mom, trying to sell you cookies.”
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*Tomorrow night is my second soccer game, and I’m already a little nervous.
It didn’t take much to convince me to join The Mixed Nuts (hee), what with the talk of cute, single men and the promise of upping the ante in my exercise routine. I felt like SUCH a dork wandering the aisles of Academy, seeking out the latest in soccer gear. Not too much has changed in the last 13 years, except for my overall cardiovascular fitness level.
I was positively shaking at my desk as my first match drew nearer. I’m actually quite glad I got lost on the way to the field so I could replace blind panic with the frustration of getting lost. When I arrived, I yanked on my new jersey, shin guards, socks and cleats, stood up, and immediately hoped I wouldn’t get put into the game. And yet, the team swiveled towards me and demanded I get onto the field: “you can play right half.” And off I scampered like a hyper half-wit, running up and down the field. Finally, gasping, I pulled one of my competitors aside, pleading to know how long halves were. “45 minutes,” she stonily replied.
What struck me as particularly funny was how I’ve changed as a competitor. I used to be one fierce chick, but during that first game, I had to consciously restrain myself from getting to know the other team while we were playing. I wanted so badly to ask people’s names, how long they’ve been playing, to comment on the 70 mile/hr wind we were playing into, etc. But given the fact that the girls who marked me looked like they wanted to punch me in the face, I kept my talking points to myself.
I’m sure the team thought they were being nice by letting me play the entire first half, but I almost passed out face down in the middle of the field I was so exhausted. When the half-time whistle blew, I unsteadily exited the field, hoping upon hope I could play defense in the next half. Fortunately, my prayers were answered, and I was plopped into fullback. While it’s been over a decade since I last graced a soccer field, I played defense for so long both in soccer and field hockey that returning to the position was like second nature. That doesn’t mean I was GOOD in it, but at least I didn’t feel like a moron anymore. I’m hoping my soccer skills will return to me in due course, as I’m quite terrible at being bad at things. If I can recover even a modicum of soccer and fitness, I think I’ll stick with the team. A) The boys ARE cute, and it’s fun to play on a co-ed team and B) They drink beer in the parking lot after the game, which is oddly appealing to me.
Oh, and we won 5-2.
C) I like to win.