September 11, 2012

Back in the Game

I didn’t go so far as to buy new indoor soccer shoes but I did make three store stops before finding soccer socks. My shin guards Sunday night were from the kids’ section at Target. Can you imagine if my shin guards from high school were still around? My former has-been high school soccer heroes: Do you remember how AWFUL our shin guards used to smell? It was like wearing a badge of honor, a medal of pride for how stinky your pads could get until your Mom couldn’t stand it anymore and into the wash they went.

Mandy, an old friend of mine, recently asked me to play co-ed indoor soccer Sunday nights in Somerset. I hesitated. Could I still hang? Would I pass out from the shitty indoor bubble air? Mess up my knee yet again or crack a tooth after colliding with a fellow has-been? But then excitement took over. I haven’t played indoor since Tony and I lived in the North End SIX YEARS ago. And before that was an even longer hiatus, maybe intramural indoor at Westfield State. Either way, it had been awhile. I’m not sure exactly what convinced me to go for it, but I’m so glad I did.

Late afternoon on Sunday my nerves started to kick in. “I’m going to die,” I said to my Mom and 2.5-year-old daughter. “Noooooo, Mummy, I don’t want you to die.” Oh ok, maybe not die. “Mommy’s just going to be really tired tonight, sweetie,” I explained.

I arrived at the bubble and was greeted by Jess (my sister-in-law), Liz (Jess’s friend) and Amanda (aka Whitey). We were all nervous. We were scared. Convinced we were about to make asses out of ourselves. And guess what? We didn’t. We actually all played pretty darn well! Yes, we were certainly tired and subbed frequently, but the touch for the ball was still there. It was a little bit like riding a bike. Passing and shooting, it seemed like we had never left the field. It reminded me of my Dad and how proud he was to be our coach growing up. That night I somehow fell asleep with sore muscles, a level of excitement only soccer can bring, and a heavy heart that my Dad wasn’t around to watch me play. He visited me in my dreams that night. So even though Jill didn’t go to bed until almost 11 p.m. and we had barely slept before the alarm sounded at 4:15, I woke up feeling refreshed and loved. There, that’s my cheesy recap of how I feel coming back to the soccer field. I’ll see you next Sunday!

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