Sunday evening, for the first time in a handful of years I ventured outside my small social circle and comfort zone to join a soccer league. I was nervous as hell to be honest. But I had already made the committment which includes a $55 entry fee, which is no small chunk of change for myself, and I didn't want anyone else to need to pick up my fees, so I had to plunge in.
I have kicked around in the past few years sure, and been involved in a pickup game here and there with a few players down at the old northside fields down at 16th Street. But this was different. This was an actual league, with actual score being kept and actual results. To make matters more interesting I knew only two other members of 3 other members of my team. One was my roomate, and one other was gonna miss this weeks game due to family committments. So, this was gonna be a first impression I made on some people.
There was first day of school type anxiety for me all day leading up to the game. Add to that I would look like the coolest cat on the field with my 1995 edition RecSpecs sports goggles. My roomate and I joked around about how many muscles we were gonna pull. And if either of us had directions to the "ego hospital" for after the game. Before the game I thought I may be fit enough to run throughout the game, but was overly concerned about that pesky skill component.
When I got to the complex I noticed the teams name we were up against was Strikers. And that this was a team made up entirely of free agents. Guys that were serious enough to enter themsleves in a league cause they wanted to play, without even knowing any of their teamates. They were just shuffled together. For some reason, this made me think all their skill levels were well beyond mine. It made me view them as very serious. Our team name is Eagles which is destiny, I suppose. Perhaps we will get into the championship game and choke.
A few minutes into the game I realized I grossly overestimated my own fitness level. Luckily, I may have overstimated that of the other team as well. When recieving the ball it was a relief to find that I actually had a second or two to look up and see where teamates were without a defender immediately on me. Then defender from the opponents told me to tell him if his elbows got too high in defending me. This wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. After twn minutes we were up 4-0 and I already had a goal, and another shot which the goalkeeper deflected and my roomated pounced on the rebound for a goal. I'll credit myself with an assist there. :)
In the end the Eagles were victorious by the score of somewhere around 9 or 10-1. Yours truly finished the game with 2 goals and two assists. It wasn't nearly as traumatic an experience as I thought it would be. Granted I have a ways to go to get to match fitness. And granted, I took some ill advised shots when I may have been better off passing off to a teamate, but that has always been a weakness of mine. Overall, it was just great to get out there and be playing again. And now instead of joking around with dread about next week, I am just honestly looking forward to it.