Life Lessons: Not all simple things are easy

Not that I’ll make this a regular topic or category, but every once and a while I’ll experience something that puts me in my place a little bit, or at least I end up with a little wiser view.  The first example would be to be cautious when buying electronics on eBay, like I talked about before.  This weekend I had another eye-opening episode when I played soccer for the first time in probably 20 years.

Thank goodness my face didn’t quite end up like this guy.  Chels and I were invited by some friends to play in a coed recreational soccer league this summer.  Neither of us play or even know the rules, but we figured it would be a good group of people to learn with, and why not have some fun in the sun?  After all, it can’t really be that hard right?  You just run around and kick the ball a little bit now and then – except not quite.  Here is a short list of things I learned while playing soccer this weekend:

1.  I am not in shape. Even if I thought I was, that was incorrect.  I may be in shape enough to cycle in to lab, or to play ultimate frisbee with friends, but I am in no way in enough shape to play soccer for 90 minutes.

2.  Not using your hands is hard. Being used to games where I use my hands (frisbee) or my hands and a stick (hockey) I didn’t realize how hard it would be to not use them during the game.  It was difficult to resist reaching out for the ball, and in fact, I did not restrain as often as I should have.  There was a ball coming at my face, so instead of trying to duck or hit a “header” I put my hands up.  The referee was nice to be since I pleaded self-defense.

3.  When the goalie steps out of the box, you can’t become the new goalie. This one I learned the hard way, and should have earned myself an automatic red card for.  Let me set it up for you: Our goalie decided to dribble the ball up the field a little bit to look for some daylight to unleash a pass up the field.  Somewhere in this process he got the ball taken from him, leaving our opponents with an open net and the ball.  I sprinted toward the goal to try and save the ball and during the motion to save the ball with my hands it occurred to me that I might not be allowed to do that.  So instead of picking up the ball, I ended up half kicking it, half flailing around and completely falling on my face – oh and not stopping the ball from going in.  The official came to me immediately and noted I should be kicked out for this game, and the next one and again I pleaded ignorance.  I was not aware that it was a penalty, AND I did not stop the ball anyway.  He was nice enough to let me slide this time, and they got a penalty kick, which was a goal.

So moral of the story, just because a game is relatively simple and played worldwide it isn’t easy – and unfortunately I have the blisters and sore muscles to prove it.

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