Here is the quite possible saddest chapter of my still young career as a Portland indoor soccer player.
At about 5:30pm my buddy Kyle from work calls to ask if I want to play with his mens’ team tonight. His team has lost every game so far and things didn’t look good considering they were up again the one undefeated team in the league. I’m in.
Fast forward… about six minutes before the end of the game, we’re leading 7:3. I might have scored 4-5 goals and was doing everything in my power to get a W into the win column. In Mario’s world, everything in my power usually translates into a high intensity, tackle-laden game. Not always fair, but always within the rules with only the occasional hint of unsportsmanship. Just to be clear, I consider fouls to be part of the game, as long as the referee calls me on them. At this point, I was pretty much the only player on our team who’s committed a foul (or 12 in my case) and my latest act of squeezing their 6.5ft sweeper into the corner truly deserved a yellow card. Or in this case, a blue card.
I could tell that our dressed in purple, female referee enjoyed seeing me walk towards the penalty box, and I didn’t disagree. Since we had a commanding lead and I didn’t feel cheated, I even chatted her up about the length of my punishment. Two minutes, but if the other team scores I get to go right back in.
It took the other team about 15 seconds to score. I jump over the edge of the penalty box and back in I go. WRONG. The whistle blows and the lady in purple is waving another blue card in my face. Before I can even get mad, I immediately jump back into the box. She whistles again and really speeds up the waving. Then she tells me that I just got ejected from the game and things won’t continue until I leave the premises. Why??? Because I wasn’t allowed to jump over the edge of the penalty box. Back and forth resulted into blue cards # 1, 2 and 3 for me. And three blue cards, of course, translate into an immediate eviction from the building, with no option to walk over “Start” again. Soccer really is a different sport in Portland…blue cards, purple referees and all.
Anyway, the team ended up winning 7:6. The next time Kyle mentions that he wants to bring a buddy to play, his tenure on the team will be severely endangered. Myself, I am going to just focus on playing outdoor soccer, and individual team sports. And of course, you won’t see me jumping out of the penalty box anytime soon.