Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jock, unretired

My knees are killing me and have no skin.

My back aches.

My neck hurts. My lungs are burning.

In short, I'm in agony.

And I feel great.

My best friend Dave talked me into playing indoor soccer tonight in an adult rec league he plays in up in his hometown.

If my fevered brain recalls correctly, I played seven of my team's eight games, 100 minutes (three at 20 minutes, four at 10) total.

OK, it was indoor (on a basketball court, not a zillion-yard-long field) and I played goalie most of the time.

But it was soccer. A sport I love. A sport, I like to joke, I love so much I gave it both knees and a small part of my spleen.

And I haven't played in, I'd guess, 10 or 12 years. Since college intramurals.

The last game I played that counted, of course, my teammates carried me off the field.

And I went straight to the emergency room.

But this, this was glorious. And unlike one poor guy, who limped off on a sprained ankle, I'm actually in fairly decent shape for someone who has gotten zero exercise since last softball season.

There was running, diving, sprawling. I made some great saves. I got off a few shots at forward, which I've played for maybe an entire game worth of time in about a 10-year career. OK, I was pretty much a turnstile on defense, which is normally my strong suit, but hey. I'm out of practice. My instincts are shot. Not to mention my legs - pulled calf muscle and all - and my lungs.

So yes, in some regards, I disgraced the player I once was.

But I wasn't the worst player out there, I don't think. And that's a start.

I doubt I'll be out there again anytime soon (this was the next-to-last weekend of the winter season). Which is good, because a) with Marisa I actually have reasons to go out on Saturday nights, and b) it might take me until next year to recover.

Still, there's nothing like the adrenaline rush of sports. Even if I couldn't tell you a single score of a single game. (I don't know that they keep score. I was just glad I didn't fall down and die.)

Now, to get my lazy butt back on the tennis court...