I spend a lot of time contemplating the futility of life, and until 7:14 pm, today was much the same. I was fairly productive at work, but offended my co-workers with the remnants of the flu and a hacking cough. I worked out and seemed destined for an uneventful evening of watching the NBA on TNT and finishing a biography on Messi. Then I received a text message from Coach Richie inviting me to play some “friendly indoor.”
I got to Northside Indoor Soccer with Holland shortly before 8 pm, and found a loose pick game underway. Over the next twenty minutes people poured in and the rules of the evening were set. Five players per team, games were six minutes long or two goals scored, winner stays, loser sits, and if it’s tied at siz minutes both teams sit.
I was fortuitously placed on a tremendous team that featured two players wearing Real Madrid shirts, a guy wearing a Barca shirt who bore a vague resemblance to Iniesta and a fourth player wearing a yellow uniform of a foreign club and black high top Chuck Taylor’s.
We immediately won five games on the trot, and full of energy and positive movement, I passably portrayed a real player. We lost and things got interesting. As I sat in the bleachers, I was offered a glass of Carlo Rossi Blush and came to the realization that I was the only player on any team that did not speak Spanish.
We dropped our next several games as the thin veil of my incompetence faded. I was clearly off the pace of play and bleeding confidence at an alarming rate. My team maintained a brave face as they scrambled through the puzzle of “how the hell are we supposed to win with this guy?” I didn’t give up on myself. Maybe it was the Carlo Rossi, perhaps the two cases of Corona that brought the pace of the game back to me, but I found a way to serve my team…..as a goalie.
I made a few decent saves, distributed the ball quickly and by staying in goal allowed the the rest of my team to play flowing football unburdened by the gringo with a poor first touch. We took off again winning most of our games the rest of the way. At the end of the night, we shook hands, embraced each other in mutual respect for the time well spent in common cause and added another memory to the side of the ledger that stands against the futility of life.