Thursday, August 02, 2007
In the area
I drove like a madman from work to try to catch the second half of my over-30 soccer team's match tonight at Griffith Park. It started at the ridiculous hour of 6:30. Who the hell can get to Griffith Park that early? Especially when you have to navigate out of downtown and through all the cretinous Dodger fans headed toward Chavez Ravine to boo Barry Bonds?
I got to the field, hurriedly put in my contacts using my car's rear-view mirror, and ran out to the field in my work clothes. I asked the linesman how much time was left: trece minutos, he said. The team captain, a very nice guy, was gratified that I had made the effort to get out, despite being ridiculously late. We were winning 4-2: the team had prospered through my absence. I hurriedly stripped down and started pulling out my uniform -- I was soon standing in just my white boxer-briefs in the shadow of the 134, holding my cleats. I was starting to put on my shin-guards in that state when I realized I should probably get some shorts on first.
I finished getting dressed, the captain called off some poor guy on the left wing, and I bounded onto the field. Almost immediately, a silly defensive error by the other team presented me with a golden opportunity for a goal as the ball spurted free just inches from me; but just before I could take a whack at the ball their sweeper swooped in and knocked it away. I jumped in the air and screamed a kind of joyous yelp of delicious frustration: it feels good to be -- for just a moment even -- deliriously free and deep in the other team's penalty box, about to take a shot on goal, even if you don't get to take that shot. It's enough to make a day of failures and frustrations, of stress and fear and worry all fall behind you for a little while.