A group of my friends (and my friends’ friends) get together every saturday morning to play a two hour game of pickup soccer in a nearby outdoor athletic complex. I had all the intentions in the world to attend these games when the Facebook event was emailed around. However for some reason I never managed to be in town or when I was in town, I never managed to be motivated enough to take the T out to the field to play. So this was the first game I had been to. I probably would have stayed at home again had I not made the fitness goal this month of one new form of exercise per day. It really forced me to actually get out there and do something I wouldn’t normally do: play soccer.
I’m glad I went because it ended up being a total blast with a great mixture of good players and not so good players. The better players would put sick moves on each other but then pass it off to the less talented players for a failed and halarious attempt for a shot on goal (goal = two cones 15 feet apart).
I played forward for most of the game and had many opportunities to score but when I got the ball I got so excited that I messed most of them up. My intensity for competition certainly conflicted with my skill level. I never grew up playing soccer so most of my sports involved hand-eye coordination and as a result, my foot-eye coordination is nothing to write home about. I can certainly play reasonable defense with good body positioning but when it comes to controlling the ball while running I’m pretty useless. Regardless of the talent level, the game was a lot of fun and a great workout. I played for about an hour with an average heart rate of 136, peaking at 179.
As playing sports tends to do, I hardly noticed that I was working so hard. There’s just something about competition and team sports that help me block out the physical strain I’m putting on my body, a physical strain that is very obvious when I’m out for a run. For example, when I go out running, my heart rate is still relatively low (unless I’m racing) but in this game my heart rate went through the roof a few times and I didn’t mind because I was competing with other people in a friendly sport. The combination of exercise and camaraderie is definitely something that’ll bring me back to play again.