Back in University, I played on an intramural inner-tube water polo team. On a difficulty scale, that ranks somewhere between soccer-baseball and frisbee-golf. I was about dead average as far as overall team skill went, but we had some good people on the team. (Brady was one of the star players.) We played an undefeated season, and I’d never been a part of something like that before. I was the unathletic kid, the one picked somewhere around second last when captains drew their teams. So when our water polo team got to the last game of the playoffs, I gave a little speech in the change room, the content of which amounted to I’ve never been on a winning team before. I’ve never even scored a point in anything I played in gym class. You have to win this game for me, or I will forever remain a loser.
And then we went out and lost.
As of last week, I started playing my first team sport since then, which I guess would be the first time in seven years. I mentioned it before—the All Sorts of Sports leagues run by the OSSC. Our team remains nameless so far, but suggested names to date are ‘Bologna Bologna Bologna,’ ‘Squeeze, Shake, Apply,’ and (I’m just throwing this out there now) 'The Soccer Moms.' We’ve got a good team. Everyone plays pretty hard, we all seem to learn quickly, and the team mood is generally positive—which is good because we got smoked in our first two games. Actually I don’t feel at all bad about the losses because both times the other teams were quite good.
Ultimate was more exhausting than I expected. I knew it would kick my butt, but I was just surprised by how quickly you could go from completely at rest to heaving out exhausted breaths in the space of forty seconds. The other team—named (ironically?) ‘Last Place’—were pretty stellar, and their secret weapon was this super-tall, super-tireless dude who was just everywhere at once. It reminded me what it was like to have Brady on my team. (Dude, if you’re reading this: would you mind driving up here every Wednesday night? We’re only seven hours away.) We stared off pretty weak, got quickly better, but not quite good enough to turn the tide. But again, everyone was in good spirits and we were all proud of ourselves.
This past Wednesday was our first soccer game. Loss number two, but by a smaller margin and the team we played was really damn good. I conquered a big fear by tending goal for the first twenty minutes of the game. And I sucked at it (I let in two goals that could have been stopped if only I'd remembered that I had hands), but at least I did it, and at least I wasn’t the only person on our team to score on my own net while tending goal. Our defence was fantastic from start to finish. Offence started a little weak, but improved a lot for the second half. And I got an assist! Woot! I really, honestly don’t mind losing as long as I get to be part of one good play. We could seriously lose 600 to 1, and I wouldn’t care as long as threw a nice pass or just faked someone out really well.
Next week’s game is football. The team is getting together for an unofficial practice this weekend, just so we can have at least one ‘play.’ Afterwards, we’re all gonna watch Rudy, and then cry and hug each other.