I went to my oldest granddaughter's first indoor soccer game of the year last evening. I am still officially between jobs and closer so I put aside my Protestant Guilt Ethic for an evening to attend.
Soccer, or futbol, is great for the rest of the world, where communism and totalitarianism reign but not so good for Americans. Here we play football. In football we flip a coin to determine who gets the ball first but all the while with the knowledge we are coming to get that ball away from you and cause you some serious pain in the process.
In football, we gain and hold ground. We talk about field position, huddle, attack the line of scrimmage, hit the flanks, blitz, swarm and only finesse teams who cannot do otherwise feint or fake or flip.
And, please, don't tell us not to put our hands on the ball. We are a tactile people, intent to grip and hold. What is ours is ours and we will not lightly kick it away.
In futbol you are penalized for being too far upfield, beyond the ball. In football once the ball is snapped, someone has to cover you wherever you go and if you can outrun them, more the better. In football, we blow whistles and throw flags. In futbol, someone blows a whistle and runs up to you with a colored card in his hand. No, it is true, I have seen it.
Imagine approaching Dick Butkus with a colored card in your hand.
Some reports indicate the testosterone level of the fans on the winning side increases after a game. This is spectacularly true in the soccer moms I have observed. These carefully coiffed, Beth Moore reading, Republican women enter into some kind of frenzy during the game, rending their garments, bouncing like the cheerleaders they once were and executing tiny, karate like kicking actions to demonstrate what their sons and daughters could do to the opposed players on the field.
I keep a polite distance to prevent injury; personal injury to myself. These women are wearing spiked, pointy heels to these games. Their balance is precarious at best and now they are dancing about, kicking with the flamenco pointed toe.
Faith, my granddaughter, scored the first two goals of the game, which seemed significant, until seven of her teammates joined her. It appears the poor goalie on the other team has religious scruples against bending over in public while wearing shorts (for which I salute her modesty) and this makes it somewhat routine to sneak a low kick beyond her into the goal.
We win the game, predictably, and the soccer moms cool down with an Evian and praise their daughters for their effort while trying to console the losing team's children. The kids don't seem to mind much. Apparently, these seven year olds do not know we are in a major recession or have just had a historic inaugural or there is still a war on in Iraq or Afghanistan or that we just closed Gitmo and finally got around to banning torture as an investigative tool. They played, they won or lost, now they get a good, healthy drink and snack, put on two more layers of clothing for the cold January trip to the car and say their goodbyes for the evening.
This is a good life, win or lose at Under-8 Indoor Girl's Soccer/Futbol. My grandson wants me to carry him to the car and, because my trainer has worked hard on my clean and jerk, I can still catch, lift and carry him. He is longer than last time, much longer and all too soon will be too long for me to carry. Nor will he want me to carry him after awhile. Instead of running by to grab my leg for a hug while he plays he will give me some manly smile and a brief grandfather hug and go off with his friends for a game of touch football. There, some one of the boys will touch harder than is necessary and the futility of trying to combine "touch" with "football" will result in bruises, abrasions and other acts of good fellowship.
This is, after all, America.
Happy Friday. Good Saturday. Have a Sabbath. Enjoy the Lord's Day upcoming.