Overall, it was a fantastic time. By game six, I was exhausted. My legs had grown heavy like McFly. Muscles all over my body were sore. The pulled hamstring had bruised up nicely. My kicks had lost their accuracy, and when I executed a sliding tackle I was happier staying on the ground. But I got up and played. Just like the rest of the team. Sluggish, maybe. Tired and sore yes. We gave it the last bit we had, and walked off the field having lost, but with our heads held as high as our necks would hold them.
The Oregon Classic soccer tournament was this weekend, so three days of exhausting fun in the sun (despite the meteorologist predictions) were lined up for poor injured me. I played anyway, despite my better judgement. It started Saturday: I’m not gonna play at all today. Then why’d I’d suit up? So I could jump in the first game and play some ball. After that game, which I played about half of, I played the entirety of the remaining five games in the tournament. Two games Saturday, three Sunday, and one on Monday. Ibuprofen was my friend, though I’m cold turkey today to assess where I’m at.
I hadn’t played in a soccer tournament since high school. What fun it was! Total immersion, it was like a vacation without going anywhere. Generally we’d have about two hours between games, during which we’d watch other games, eat tacos, refluidate, and have a beer or two. Every now and then someone would heckle a referee for no apparent reason. The team was put together by my friend Ben, and consisted of players from three different area pickup games, so a lot of us didn’t know each other at all. It kinda showed, especially in our first game, but we improved dramatically after that, and actually place 4th (of eight teams) in the 3rd division.
I realized that I can be a bit dirtier of a player than I’d previously thought. Mostly I get folks as retaliation for things like being a jerk, or overly aggressive, or playing our keeper naghty. But I was ripe with the comments and the sly fouls. I gave little punches to a coupla guys, both of whom were leading with the elbows too much. The second one was fun, this huge guy on the opponent team came at me, rushing with his elbows into my chest, so I just snuck in a punch under his arms. He’s like hey, ‘you punched me! he hit me!’ and I smiled at him, and he just keeps running at me and I flop back drawing the foul too. Mind you, it wasn’t a hard punch, just a warning shot across the bow…I’m not looking to hurt anyone, just to let them know I’m not taking their crap
My favorite foul (of my own, probably second overall), was when a fellow was beating me on the run, and I could just catch him (recall the injury I’m nursing), so whoop, hand grabs jersey, and I ‘pulled him into my wheels,’ as Dave called it. Props for favorite foul go to Elan, who despite the significant size mismatch pulled a fellow down, and hard!, at the outskirt of the penalty area, and somehow didn’t get a call against him. Notable mention was the play that got Scott (keeper) red-carded. Jackass forward is putting a body on the goalie after he has the ball, whistle blows, jackass runs a step or two, and Scott does a rolling tackle to jackass’s legs. Normally I wouldn’t support such a play, but goalies are a protected species and if you want to be a jackass like that you’ve got worse than that coming.