Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The life and times of a soccer player

Soccer is beautiful
Originally uploaded by [ cas ]
Sometimes I wonder why I play soccer.

I played soccer for 13 years when I was a kid. I played until it wasn't fun anymore and my doctor told me that I should stop anyway as it was really messing up my body. So I didn't play for years.

This summer, I signed up for a spring and summer recreational team, figuring no great harm would come to me in such a recreational forum.

Today I'm wearing a long skirt so as to artfully cover my full-leg bruise. Only I realized, too late, that when my skirt brushes against my leg, it hurts.

Last week, on Monday, we had a game against a team that was somehow still in the lowest rec league. They clearly were interested in a more competitive game. And a few were a little bit aggressive. I got kicked in the shin. I got kicked through my shin pad so hard that I still have a hug goose egg and the bruise has spread down from just below my knee, down to my ankle. And, as I said, my skirt just brushing against this bruise causes me to grimace.

Last night, after taking off my soccer gear after another game, I found that the imprint of my shin pads was almost permanent in the swollen flesh. I kept my leg elevated on pillows. I got out my ice pack. I placed the ice pack to my leg. And groaned in pain.

I'm sick to my stomach and weak in the knees now just thinking of it.

I finally figured out some ways of placing the ice so that the full weight of it wouldn't be on the bruise. And I moved it around every once in a while, as you're supposed to do. Is it better? No.

I remember another foot injury I had from several weeks ago that made it almost impossible to walk.

So why play soccer?

Because it feels good to run. To kick. To sweat. To see the play happen. To make that beautiful pass.

And you know, I don't really care a lot if we win. (Most real soccer players won't tell you this, but I'm not a "real" soccer player.) I care if I'm involved in the game and get exercise and enjoy being outdoors.

That's the fun of it. Just don't look at me afterwards -- it ain't pretty.

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