On Sunday I filled in for a friend's proper outdoor soccer team, and played a full 90 minutes out there on real grass. It was fantastic.
I am currently playing indoor soccer twice a week; competitive league 4-a-side at the cricket centre on Fridays, and casual kickabout no-ref soccer in a school gym on Tuesdays.
Josh, a Balinese guy in our Friday night team, also plays in the Over 35 outdoor league I played in a couple of years back, but he runs around for Beachside. I played then for University, and Marcus now plays for Olympia, so I felt briefly conflicted when I was asked to don the lurid green of Beachside, but I got over it quickly.
Their home ground is Sandown Park, by the beach in Sandy Bay. Marcus played there the other day, and it was horribly waterlogged. Josh and I arrived and saw that it was much worse, covered in standing water. There is another ground which is on a slightly higher level, and looked fine to play on. I asked the other Beachside guys if we might play on that instead; even though this is their home, they seemed to think that was a novel idea.
The referee arrived and inspected the first pitch. It was hilarious. There were, let's say, 25 large puddles. he asked for a ball, and went up and down the ground and attempted to roll a ball through every one. I don't know if there is something in his manual about this. he was so thorough. And every time the ball stopped rolling and started floating, he looked grim and disappointed. he came back and said "Sorry, game's off." He too seemed to think the idea of playing on the other pitch was beyond the pale. Eventually someone bashfully suggested he have a look at it. "Ohhhhh sure, move the nets onto the goals up there and let's do it".
I played left back and had a hoot. There was lots to do; Beachside aren't much good at keeping the ball so there was plenty of defending required. I did my best and made a few nice tackles and passes. Due to a technicality I had best not go into, I was going by the name of 'Brian' for the day. (Weirdly I was telling someone about this today and he said, oh I know Brian, he's married to my wife's cousin.) There was a smattering of "well done Brian" from on and off the field.
I even got on the scoresheet. At the wrong end. There are two kinds of acceptable own goals; the lunge and the deflection. I lunged and got to the ball before my man who was coming in at the far post; but I needed to get some scoop into my lunge -- all I did was foot-punch the ball into my own net.
Apart from that I felt like I did OK and my team-mates were very keen for me to Brian it up again this weekend. The player shortage that led to me being drafted is now worse after a couple of injuries on Sunday, so I think I have a game there any time I want one.
Final score was Hobart Utd 5 d Beachside 0.