Saturday, October 15, 2011

#9 Play a Sport You Suck At

I haven't played soccer since 3rd grade. The only people in the U.S. that I know who played soccer played it in high school. Yes at my school it was only offered in the fall and I was too busy with cross country. Soccer is so important here that if you like sports and want to play one there is no easier one to play than soccer. They do pick-up games with their friends which is usually soccer 5(10 total) because finding 22 people that have free time is almost impossible.

Play is normal soccer rules with goalies rotating every 5 minutes so everyone gets some rest from the constant running that is soccer. You will be dead tired by the end of the game! Convenient since bed time is right after.

They play on a smaller field which makes for a much more fast paced game. Kind of like the difference between normal football rules and ultimate football. However, they only have time to play at night after work or school or whatever else they need to do during the day. Also they play on private(canchas).

My normal group plays every Monday. The prices vary from about 60 pesos to 90 pesos($3-5) per person per hour. We don't always go to the same field, but most of the fields have similar characteristics. They are turf the old school turf with a fine grain sand on top which I assume is to make the ball travel faster. They don't have the space we are accustomed to in the Midwest where there are public fields that anyone can play on. They play on private fields. There is no standard field which would drive most Americans crazy they will play anywhere on a basketball court or on turf both outside or inside or a very hard dirt in poorer areas.

This field is actually for one of the pro teams in Montevideo. It would be like playing pickup football in Bergstrom or the Chiefs practice field and paying $2 per person.

They just want to play they just want to have a good time with friends. They don't need to win of course they want to, but they don't need to like we do in the United States. There isn't this culture of "if you aren't first your last"-Ricky Bobby, it is just to have fun, enjoy time with friends and relax. Tranquilo that is Uruguay. To play well you need to be calm there isn't a rush there never is. You play better when you are calm and take a breath and relax. Moreover you play on a team you play together. Yes, everyone wants to be the next Ronaldinho(one of the best soccer players of all time), but the best teams play as a team they play together they play with each other. Something I think because of the individualistic nature of American sports football, basketball, and baseball this is sometimes forgotten. In soccer no one really has only one job they are all utility players that specialize in doing certain things.

Ok so my experience of learning soccer. It wasn't/isn't easy and many times frustrating being the worst on the field, but it is fun.

1st game: I could barely stop the ball let alone kick it where I wanted, I had no idea where to be on the field either.

2nd game: I knew where I needed to be on the field, but my ball skills were none(kinda still are)
I missed an easy goal, whiffed it completely, the kind of whiff youtube videos are made of.

3rd-5th game: I could sort of pass the ball where it needed to be and I knew where I should be on the field. As goalie I actually made a few saves. However, dribbling was still a terrible idea as I had no control.

6th game: I finally broke through the wall it was 5 v. 4, but regardless I scored 3-5 goals can't really remember. Our side won! (Also injured my self, so I could barely walk the next week and had to sit out and take pictures like this)

7th game: This was tough, this group was good, we were playing the uncle living with us who is a former professional and now a sports analyst on TV. Managed to not screw up too bad and scored a goal. Both sides were really good and my side won by 1, definitely not by my goal.

8th game: You know the 3 man weave you play in basketball,. Turns out that is really useful in soccer as our team used it quite successfully on the way to a 14-10 win. I could move the ball where I wanted it to. I missed some passes and goals bad. However, that 3 man weave set up 2 goals for me. Thanks Jacho/Jorge/Coque!

To infinity: Depends game by game, but other than improving ball skills I'm at about where I am going to be.

What sports do you play with your friends? What do you like about it? Please Comment Below.

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