Back in August I wrote a post about how I was set to embark on a new adventure in “cross-training” – kickball… plus a return to soccer. The sessions started in early/mid September, and should have been over by the end of October (6-8 guaranteed weekly games with some double-headers), but due to poorly timed rainstorms, the sessions are only just now winding down. Perfect time for a wrap-up!
Kickball (3-5-0, finished 4th place)
Julie, Bluelie (another Julie nicknamed in honor of her blue hair), and I signed up as indies for a kickball league, and were assigned to the purple team, aka Thursday Night Lights. After a rocky start in our first game (detailed here, but basically, our captain was a little too serious and we got absolutely crushed by a team that was also taking the game a little too seriously) we settled into a fun, if not entirely successful, groove. Here’s how the season went down:
Game 1: Lost 10-1 to the team who would finish the season in first place (they played like jerkfaces). I made it on base once (never getting past first), and made two pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) plays at first base. Our super-organized captain would have been a very good player-manager if the rest of us had cared enough to go along with his plan for the season, but alas. Julie and I retreated our separate ways after the game.
Games 2 and 3: The Julies and I were absent for a two-loss double-header. Apparently our captain could no longer bear to lead a team of content losers, so he abandoned ship via an awkward Facebook message.
Games 4 and 5: Another set of losses, but the team seemed happy enough being the kickball version of the Bad News Bears. This was also the first time the Julies and I joined in with the after-game shenanigans at the local bar for pizza, beer, and karaoke, which became a bit of a post-game tradition.
Game 6: Our first win! Also our first cold game (I was wearing ALL the base layers). My memory is a bit hazy (all the games blended together a bit), but I think we actually won this one pretty handily… and I scored a run! Huzzah! Drew was a champ and sat in the cold to cheer us on (and take the pictures in the collage above) and I was filled with pride, both about my team and about my amazing purple and green get-up:
Game 7: Another win! What the heck?! I think we won less handily than the game before, but I scored a run again (yay!) despite the ump totally having it out for me for some reason. We had two umps during the season – one who was super sweet and we’d chat whenever I’d play catcher or come up to kick, and another who was reminded us all of an angry Keith Richards. He called me out for bunting, even though I swung fully (I just can’t kick far… not my fault!) and hassled me for where I was standing when I kicked the ball, even though neither he nor the other ump had called me on that before. Whatever, I played pretty well (despite maybe being a bit tipsy thanks to a pre-game drink with Drew while we waited for game time… oops) and pizza and karaoke happened again. It was my first time appearing on the karaoke “stage” though I wasn’t alone; all the ladies on the team got up and sang “Waterfalls” by TLC together. It was good times.
Game 8: This game was rained out two weeks in a row before finally being played the night before Halloween. The Julies and I all had other plans so we missed out on the team’s third win, which catapulted us – against all odds – into 4th place in our division, meaning we got a spot in the playoffs.
Quarterfinal: This game was supposed to be last night, but, once again, it’s raining and the game was postponed. The jury’s still out on whether Julie and I (Bluelie has since given up the team) will play the make-up game, but I think we’re both a bit mentally done with it all, after having not played for a month and after our team had a bit of a social split during our last karaoke night. But that’s drama we don’t need to get into right now.
In summary: Kickball was a fun little adventure, but it was most likely a one-time thing. I hadn’t played since I was 10, and it was still just as fun as it was back then… for the most part. Kickball, thankfully, isn’t taken quite as seriously as soccer in this particular league, meaning most of the teams we played were pretty chill and were just there to have fun, but there were still a few games against teams who would go to whatever lengths to win, and honestly, I’m too old/too laid-back to put up with that nonsense.
In terms of “cross-training,” I did make a handful of 60′ sprints on the base paths, and my arms got an interesting workout as I tried to throw the giant rubber ball farther than I was able, but otherwise it was more a silly diversion than legitimate cross-training. Which I sort of knew going in., and I’m okay with that.
Soccer (3-2-1, finished 4th place)
Drew, Colin, Julie, and I signed up as indies for a 6v6 soccer league, and were assigned to the maroon team, one of 4 indies teams in our division. The rest of our team was mostly young’uns, but that was great because young’uns tend to have a lot of energy! Last year’s 6v6 league featured gorgeous turf pitches, so the knobbly, muddy, grass fields this year took a bit of getting used to. I was also quite rusty, having not played at all for a year. Here’s how the season went down:
Game 1: Drew and I missed the first game because we were flying to Seattle, but Colin and Julie both played and so were able to give us recaps of our team’s amazing 7-1 demolition of the other team (which was another indies team). Wahoo! Great start to the season!
Game 2: Another indies vs indies match-up. I think our team expected another resounding win after our first indies-bashing, but this particular team proved to be a worthier adversary. However, this team also featured one of our least favorite league regulars, whom Drew and I had played against on various teams for about 6 years. He’s the kind of player who’s all over you – kicking at your ankles, throwing sly elbows – but if you retaliate at all, he whines immediately to the ref and starts up the drama. He’s also the kind of player who yells at the ref if a call, any kind of call, doesn’t go his way, basically causing a game-long scene. Needless to say, he’s always a pleasure to play against, and this game was no exception. It’s like the soccer director formed this team out of all the known d-bags in the league, because the whole team was like this guy. Luckily the game didn’t get as heated as it could have (mostly because my team is chill and awesome), but I only played for maybe 5 minutes total because I was utter crap on the pitch. Talk about rusty! I even managed to fly through the air and land on my bum at one point… I don’t even know how that happened. Anyway. It ended in a frustrating 1-1 tie… frustrating because we had like a million shots on goal and only the 1 went in. We should have won easily!
Game 3: Another game I didn’t play much of. I wrote about it here; my knees were just starting to bother me, the pitch was knobbly as all get-out, and the game didn’t start until 9:30 pm. Seriously, I’m too old for that shiz. This is the game I played just long enough to take out a player who kept fouling Drew. We lost. I forget the score. I was too tired to pay attention.
Game 4: I missed this game. I don’t remember why. We lost again.
Games 5 and 6: A double-header to make up a rained-out game, that was then itself rained out and postponed (which made me exorbitantly happy, because it was postponed to the week AFTER my half marathon, instead of being a mere 4 days before it). Both games were kind of amazing… our team just clicked and we won handily each time. I even scored a goal! Both of the teams we played were nice, chill, and fun, which made me reconsider (temporarily, anyway) my “I hate playing soccer in this league because everyone is psycho” feelings. It poured at one point and none of us even really cared; we were just having a blast playing soccer, and it made my heart happy. The two wins catapulted us into 4th place, landing us a spot in the playoffs. Just like kickball!
Quarterfinal: Despite my happy feelings after our victorious double-header, I felt kind of done with soccer by this point. My little cross-training adventure had done its time, and I was ready to have my Wednesday nights back… and ready to give my Thursday (kickball) nights back to run club. I secretly hoped we’d lose the quarterfinal, so that we wouldn’t have to play again the following week… and my wish came true. It was wicked cold, the pitch was terrible, and the game started late (after 9:30pm, when it was supposed to start at 9:15, which is late enough!) and my heart just wasn’t in it. The other team had one good player and apparently that was all they needed to beat us 3-1. Or was it 4-1? Whatever. It was another team that I remembered in a negative light from years past, and the same shovey, bitch-faced girl thought it would be fun to slam into me unnecessarily (and multiple times) and glare at me the whole game, and oh boy yes it was fun for us all. I was past caring though… I just wanted to go home to bed. So we lost, our season was over, and that was okay with me. The team is talking about getting together for drinks in a week or two though, which makes me happy.
In summary: Before this session, I had given up soccer in this league because I was getting too worked up about all the fouly jerkfaces and refs who let the games boil over into handbags, and I was worried that my growing rage would cause me to hurt someone (ironic, right?). But I did miss playing. This session was a good reminder that the fouly jerkfaces and crap refs are very much still there, and I think I’m done for good now, at least in this league. (Though I think fouly jerkfaces exist everywhere, unfortunately.) I’d play soccer again in a heartbeat if I could be guaranteed only chill adversaries, but that’s highly unlikely. So I’m hanging up my cleats. I did enjoy this indies team, though, and I’m glad we had one more season to play with Colin (this was his last season too).
In terms of cross-training, I’m sure if I had spent more time on the pitch in the games I did play, it would have been decent. Unlike running, where I only go forward pretty much in a straight line, soccer had me running forward, backward, and sideways, and mixing in sprints as well as slower jogs. It was basically fartleks with a ball. But the downside to using soccer as cross-training, especially in a league where fouly jerkfaces abound, is the risk of injury. Knobbly, muddy pitches aside, some people tend to go into tackles a little too enthusiastically. Definitely not the safest form of cross-training, especially when this session happened right before my half marathon! Luckily I escaped unscathed, but I think I’ll opt for more chill methods of cross-training in the future.
Have you played any rec league sports? How was/were your experience(s)?
Am I right in assuming that fouly jerkfaces exist everywhere, or do they just tend to flock to the Boston area?
What’s your favorite way to cross-train?