No, I’m not talking about football, but I am talking about this lighted field on Friday nights and my new favorite obsession: soccer! And this is where I get to play every Friday night, with the Empire State Building glowing in the background. I also get to play on Saturday mornings. And Tuesday nights at practice. Yeah. Like I said. It’s a new obsession.
This week there were only three of us who could make it on Tuesday, but we still practiced anyway. And it was kind of nice because it was Amy and me who are both at about the same skill level and Oliver who is better than both of us and super nice (my whole team is really nice). I told him I really wanted to work on my ball handling skills. I am an excellent defender, but not so great when it comes to offense. So we played a lot of “monkey in the middle” (helps with with control and passing), mid-air trapping exercises (self-explanatory), and controlled heading (as in heading the ball in a specific direction).
At the end of practice, I didn’t really feel like I’d improved very much. And I was worse for the wear with a big, scraped up bruise on my shin (forgot my shin guards). And then Friday rolled around and, well, apparently practicing really does make a difference. It was AMAZING!
I still defended well (I love defense!), but I also helped on offense. In past games, I’ve only gotten the ball as a result of stealing it from the other team (and I haven’t minded that at all…I have never wanted someone to pass the ball to me because I was so sure I would lose possession in 2.2 seconds). But this game, it was different. It probably helps that I play with a great group of guys who do not expect perfection, but between practice and a little coaching from my teammates, something just clicked. Not only was able to help out in some integral plays, I headed the ball off a corner kick and nearly made it in the goal (or at least it headed in that direction :). It was so fun!
By the end of the game, I was beat. Playing offense and defense requires a little more running than just defense, and we were down a girl, so there were no subs for Amy and me and you have to have two girls on the field at all times. But it was so worth it. Oh, and we won 7-1. Kind of fantastic, right?