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January 5th, 2014

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10:19 pm - Soccer in California
The one thing I regret is that we didn't take a picture. I remember the scene from the picnic table where we laced up our cleats, my brothers and I: across the green grass field in Fontana, California, were the San Bernandino Mountains, looming. It was an amazing backdrop and would have made a great picture. Chris and I talked about how it had been years since either of had played soccer. I used to play in a pickup game in Northampton, but that was 13 or 14 years ago now. Matt said that a guy he knew from church introduced him to this soccer game, though it a few exits further up the freeway from him.

It was really great to play. It had been a while. I used to play soccer regularly. Now I play tennis, mostly. But to get a chance to play soccer again, and moreover, with my two brothers, that was a treat. Enough people showed up for two games, and we ended up getting split up, so that Matt played in one game and Chris and I played in another. Chris and I played on the same team, both of us wearing white shirts. Our game started off rough, with the other team scoring a number of unanswered goals. But then the play seemed to level off.

In a memorable moment, Chris and I were on the attack and he had the ball on the left wing. He sent in a crossing pass on the ground and I punched it in with a left foot. Connecting on a goal with my brother was a great feeling. I ended up scoring four goals. I have no idea what the score was at the end. Chris said afterwards I was the star of the team. He did a lot of running on both flanks. After about 10 or 15 minutes, I was really sucking wind, but I was able to keep going. I decided I couldn't run end-to-end, and drifted toward the front. I played in the middle, sort of an attacking mid, trying to range as much as I could while conserving energy.

We had a good group, with a range of talent levels and backgrounds. Some Hispanic guys, some Middle Eastern guys, some Asian guys. Only a couple of women. They played on opposite teams, and both stayed up front, so seldom encountered each other. I lost the bottom of one of my cleats, and played most of the game without cleats on the ball of my right shoe. It didn't seem to matter much, although I think I soaked up some water through the bottom of the shoe. We ended up bailing after the break, although the game kept going. We reasoned that we had a good go and didn't want to push ourselves.

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Soccer in California - flash & yearn

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