Sunday, September 19, 2010


Soccer season has begun for the Grand Masters League, of which I am a member. (Grand Masters = Old People...) Our first game was yesterday. We did well. We tied twice - right at the beginning of the game when it was 0-0 (;-)), and then sometime in the second half, when it was 3-3. And while we ultimately lost, we played with heart, and with - well, I can't actually call it "intensity," but with - well, a lot of effort for a bunch of - ahem - Grand Masters.

At one point, one of my players was fighting to get to the ball before it went out of bounds. He came so close... the other team's defender blocked the view of the referee - we only get one, no linesman, very rudimentary - and the ref let the play continue without a whistle for the ball going out of bounds. I had the angle that actually showed the ball go out of bounds - just barely, but it did.

Hence the title of this entry. What is the protocol - proto"call," - in recreational sports for such a situation? For as I watched the play continue and did nothing to interrupt it, I realized that such a protocol exists.

If it had been me chasing the ball, and I had realized the ball had gone out of bounds, I more likely than not would have presumed a whistle from the referee and given the ball over to the other team. This is because: (a) the ref was probably getting ready to blow the whistle anyway; (b) these games are really hard on the ref, because he (or she) can't see every play on the field with just one of their kind; and (c) why generate bad karma?

In this case, however, it was not me chasing the ball - it was my teammate. So I didn't say anything. This is because: (a) my teammate may not have realized the ball went out of bounds, so it wasn't a matter of principle and/or karma; (b) the other team failed to protest the play - other than make a few protest sounds, not enough to get the attention of either my teammate or the ref, so anything I said would just distract from the game, and not add to it; and (c) it simply wasn't my "call" to make.

As I watched the play, and realized what I was doing - and not doing - and the decades of sport experience that went behind my in-the-moment decisions, I realized that I love soccer. I love playing it, I love being with my team, I love hanging out with my team afterwards, at whatever bar we decide to fraternize. It's just a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Speaking of bars...

When I got to where we were going after the game - The "Rock," I think it's called - it used to be "Bottoms Up," but that ownership went out of business - I parked next to a car with a gekko on the side. Yes, it was a Geico business vehicle. I didn't realize people took their business cars to bars. It seemed like an odd sight, right there at The Rock, so I took a photo of it. And sat there, listening the final beats of "Desperately Wanting" blasting on the radio. "I remember running through the wet grass... And falling a step behind.. Both of us never tiring.. Desperately wanting..."

No comments: