Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bigus and Spectator Return to Playing Football

The field turf won this 50-50 tackle with Bigus

So Bigus says, “Hey, I know an indoor facility that has open football games at night. You just show up and they put you on a team. Want to go?” Against every ounce of my better judgment, I said yes.

After the jump, you’ll hear what it’s like when two out-of-shape 30-somethings decide to play the beautiful game. (Hint: It wasn’t very beautiful.)

Now, to understand my conflicted feelings about playing football, you have to realize that I have never had much, nay any athletic ability. This is why I love professional sports so much, because I have such an appreciation for athletes. But, growing in the soccer hotbed of St. Louis, I played every summer in youth leagues and even played a bit during my Freshman year of high school. Let’s just say that I developed an innate sense of playing within myself: which usually meant staying back on defense. This also meant that I never exactly mastered dribbling or passing.

It was with this particular skill set that I found myself on the pitch last night. In addition, I should mention that I consider myself to be pretty horribly out of shape. The thought that kept running through my head was, "This will all end in tears."

I was, however, somewhat comforted by the fact that I didn’t look all that worse than the Over 40s game that took place just before my scrimmage. Before I knew it, we were on the pitch, divvied into teams (Bigus on one and me on the other). I made a few decent saves when in goal, a few decent stops on defense, and also gave up several goals that at least had the benefit of making the opposition look good. At least I didn't give up any goals to Bigus! On the drive home, I decided that I most embodied a combination of Phillip Senderos’ lummoxy footwork with Paul Robinson’s proneness to gaffes.

All that said, it was the best 60 minutes (no breaks, no subs) of exercise I’ve had in ages, and I had a great time. Football is the rare sport where you can plop twelve people with varying degrees of fitness and skill on a pitch and it turns into a competitive match. It helped that it was an overall congenial bunch last night. At one point I told one of the older guys, "Well, I'm not too bad for not having played for ten years." He responded, "Yeah. I feel like I've got a bull in my stomach."

Which is all to say I can’t wait to play again.


After 7 years I decided to play footy again and get into shape. Spectator lives nearby and was also up for it. The only exercise I’ve had in recent times is 19oz bicep curls, perfected at my favorite pub in NY, George Keeley. Spectator and I joined an open night at the indoor soccer academy last night. One hour, no breaks. Everyone committed. Teams split into white shirts and black shirts.

The first 20 minutes brought the fear of death. After 5 I was dying, out of breath and seriously struggling. After 25 minutes I had broken through the pain barrier and started to settle in. I had so much fun I can’t believe I haven’t made the effort to play again sooner. Now I’m hoping to start a team for the fall league. The guys we played with were a good bunch of lads, even if they were a little cliquey, passing to each other while I waved my arms around in plenty of space. Still, we were the newbies and we need to earn those through passes! I still managed to score a hatrick which was fantastic. The old touch is still there, even if one was a header into an empty net. However, I also missed 3-4 others including an open goal with my left from 6 yards out.

Today has brought the aches associated with grueling exercise and the burns on my leg (from being an eager beaver with my tackles early on) are nagging. But it was well worth it. I haven’t played since I was 26 and I’m glad to be back at it, even if 2 toddlers and a 50 mile commute means playing at 10pm.

Get In.



Goat said...

That picture is gross. I mean, jorts? Seriously?

Spectator said...

Heh, I think that Bigus pulled up his pants... I have never seen him wear jorts.

Goat said...

Thank goodness.

Bigus Dickus said...

My jeans are raised. I'll point out that I earned that burn disposessing the opponent!

WTF are 'jorts'??

JT said...

ask any soccer mom, Bigus, they'll tell you...

JT said...

wait, they'll know what skorts are. And sporks. Maybe go to West Virginia for information about jorts.

Spectator said...

Business in the front, party in the back!

Anonymous said...

Bigus, I should have guessed you did your pint lifts at Keeley's, the upper west side's best beer and a Norwich pub to boot. If you don't mind disclosing your secrets, where's this pickup game? I too am fairly out of shape and haven't played in months, but would love to get a game.

ü75 said...

Bigus-"jorts"= Jean shorts. As in "Gators wear jean shorts".

Bigus Dickus said...

U75: That's a criminal act, jean shorts. Criminal.

Ryan: No longer live on the Upper West, although I can still be found in GK often! Play out in Long Island. If that's of interest, let me know.