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A beautiful game | www.ed-rex.com


A beautiful game

Farewell to 'Young Geoffrey'?

I went, I played, I did not conquer, yet I survived.

Yea! though I suffer muscles aflame and knee scabbed over with blood, I survived to tell the tale.

Indeed, survived well enough to look ahead to that day (next week, in fact) when I shall take to the field yet again.

And yet, I fear the time approaches, when it may behoove me to relinquish the moniquer of Young Geoffrey.

'We grow too soon old ...'

Enter Late Youth Geoffrey

Young Geoffrey (not exactly as shown) celebrates.

The game is called 7-on-7 and is set up across a full-sized (Canadian) football field, presumably meaning our "field" was only 59 metres long. This set-up permits a number of games, separated by netting, to take place at once.

More important from a casual player's point of view, it permits us to play sans immediate cardiac arrest.

My team (the imaginatively titled Team 7) has 10 players on its roster, of whom I think eight made an appearance yesterday afternoon.

The group was friendly and low-key, and it turned out that with I think only one exception, none of us had played in years. The exception was someone who's played a lot of hockey but had never played soccer before. (He turned out to be one of our best players, which presumably tells you something about the rest of us.

The group also showed in living colour just how much Ottawa has changed in the past 20 or so years. At least three of us were not white (it might have been four, but I wasn't really paying that much attention to such matters at the time), which is in stark contrast to what I would have expected in 1990 (hint: all-white).

Anyway. Soccer is hard, and a couple of weeks' jogging (almost) every second day was sure as shit no proper preparation for me.

I acquitted myself well enough — scored no goals, but prevented a couple — but was by no means a star. And mercy! Do I ever hurt now! Legs and arms ache and my buttock muscles are screaming every time I rise from my chair to fetch myself some more coffee.

But I don't in fact hurt quite as much today as I expected I would when I lay myself down last night; which means I expect to feel well enough tomorrow to put in some more running. I ought to be in better shape for next week's game than I was for this week's.

Yet it cannot be denied: Young Geoffrey's corpus is not quite so young as once it was. And in truth, I suspect I am the chronological outlier on my team, perhaps by as much as a decade. The youngest player I judge to be in her early 20s; the oldest, almost certainly south of 40.

Still, it was fun! Sweating and gasping and (yes) bleeding (I went down hard on my left knee late during my first shift) as I was, the exertion was joyous and tremendously satisfying. That we managed to win our game was nothing compared to the fact that we played it.

Spread the word!


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