Soccer has become my life.

I play & learn, I read about it, watch training videos, think about it, talk about it non-stop, watch it on TV, practice, learn from other players, write about it, dream about it.

In this life, I’m a late indoor soccer player. In my next life, I want to come back as a Premier League footballer. Specifically a Gunner.

By Chance

I stop into the bar tonight for a glass of wine, alone. I turn on my “do not approach” attitude, something relatively new for me, and am sad to see a guy who seems anxious to chat choose a seat near me before I’m even two sips into my wine.

I turn up the “do not approach” and give my attention to an extremely important text conversation. He orders a craft beer and turns his attention to me.

“I wasn’t sure about ordering something ice cold,” he opens, referencing the frozen tundra outdoors. “That wine looks pretty good.”

I nod. “Yep.”

I order food; he tries a few more times to start a conversation. I finally feel bad enough to ask what he does when he’s not at the bar. “I work in finance,” he said. I nod politely (yawn). “We’re very busy.” Another nod (mm-hmm). “I ski a little. You know.” I turn back to my wine.

Then he says, “And I play soccer.”

I’d like to say I played it cool, but I’ve been waiting for ages to meet another soccer player off the field and away from the indoor center.

“Soccer, really? I ask.

“Well, indoor soccer. Yeah.”

“Someone put you up to this.” (Yeah, like I said, I didn’t play it cool). “I mean, it’s just that I don’t meet many people who play. I play too.”

This leads to a brief discussion about where, when, and how long, and then I have to bite my tongue to keep from looking like a complete dork.

Then he says something about playing golf but not loving it. (yes)

Then he orders food and tells the server he doesn’t like mayo. (yes, again)

Mentions an appreciation for wine again. (alright)

And then he engages in a respectful conversation with the female bartender without a trace of creepiness and still manages to include me.

I force myself not to say anything that indicates he’s remotely interesting. I settle my bill, note that he’s watching my departure, smile and say, “Maybe I’ll see you at soccer sometime,” and leave without introducing myself.

I finally managed to have a casual drink without attracting a creeper – cheers to me!

Extra Soccer

Played with the Thursday night house team tonight. Great team, good effort, we only lost 6-5. I challenged hard and needed to sub out about every 5 minutes. Best moment was my first challenge on an opposing girl – she actually said, “No!” and pushed me away with her hand. Better believe I stole that ball and sent it away laughing.


A Day of Lasts

Today was:

our last robotics meeting before FRC (FIRST Robotics Challenge) kickoff on January 4th.

my last day with my newest petsitting clients, Zoey & Bailey.

my last [insert major research data vendor name here] training of the entire year!!! I could do this training in my sleep I’ve led it so many times.

the last Thursday before Christmas. It’s not really relevant except that I went grocery shopping for Christmas dinner and managed to buy everything except Brussels sprouts, so apparently it was not my last trip to the store before Christmas.

the last day before Session 2 Indoor Soccer League begins!

my son’s last day of school before winter break (because he’s sick with an awful cold – poor guy!).

hopefully not my last day of work this week because I’m not feeling so awesome myself. My stomach is a little touchy; maybe a full night of uninterrupted sleep will help!

Unexpected Feedback

I’ve been playing pickup soccer twice a week for a couple months now. It’s great practice for league; I’m learning about strategy, teamwork, observation, decision-making, and how to counter tricks. Everything I know about soccer comes from watching BPL matches and my limited experience playing adult co-ed league and pickup games this year. Every week I share the field with immensely talented players who never fail to amaze me.

Today one of those players offered me some unexpected feedback after our game. “It may not be my place to say so,” he said, “but I think you’re a better player than you give yourself credit for. You’re an aggressive player and you’re doing great.”

“Thank you,” I managed to reply. “I learn a lot out there.”

That dude has no idea how much that feedback means to me. I’m kind of late to the game (pun intended so hard that it barely qualifies as one), showing up to play for the first time at 37 years old, but my commitment to the sport is only getting stronger. It feels good to know I’m on the right track and I’ll work even harder now to improve.

When’s the last time you gave positive feedback? Try it – you may be surprised by how much impact it can have!