Monday, May 15, 2006

storming off the field

I haven't posted a lot recently here. Last week was kind of busy. One of my two posts from last week was a rant about an abysmal couple of soccer weekends.

I complained last week about teammates quitting, actually taking off their cleats and quitting, before the game is over. I complained about that yesterday before our game. And then I did it. I stormed off the field in a fit of rage, took off my cleats and quit.

We were going down. A fluke goal within about five minutes of the beginning of the game not only put our opponents up but started our slide into hell. We were once again short a number of players. We were playing eight against eleven. We were running our asses off the entire time and watching the score climb ever higher. I even moved up to midfield and was eyeing a chance of a shot on goal. I actually did shoot at one point, though a failed attempt from the beginning.

I think our infighting might have begun when the ref offered a water break which most of our team was ready for. Our two youngest team members didn't want to stop for water and stayed on the field passing the ball. I was irritated by their insistence that we didn't need a water break, maybe a little mad at the thirteen years between our ages that demanded I break for water and a quick stretch.

We started turning on each other, and that's the death of any team. Teams can fight back from extraordinary odds if they remain a team and continue to work together with respect for what each member brings to the team. When members start to break away and blame other members, nothing can save them.

That's where we were yesterday, and I knew what was coming. I was already starting to yell back at the youngsters. They are both decent players. I've enjoyed playing with both of them and would be willing to play with them again. But they were working hard, getting nowhere and getting frustrated and were turning back to us, the defense, to blame us for the fact that we just couldn't even hope to do too much damage to the opponents. I was growing tired of their criticism and was starting to tell them. I can hold things in sometimes, but I was about to blow up.

So I stormed off the field. I cussed a little. I damned the whole team for what for me added up to three weeks of soccer misery.

Since it happened, I'm feeling worse about my actions. I think that walking away was better than blowing up at the youngsters. But I walked away from my team. I took off my cleats, socks and shin guards and left. I did the thing I'd damned in others. I know for a fact that it would have ended much worse if I'd stayed. I would have laid into one of the youngsters because they wouldn't have shut up. I would have tried like hell not to, would have continued playing and busting my ass. I'm carrying as much in the way of injuries from this game than from any other game this season, and this team played clean, so I'm not talking elbows or jabs in the back or trips. I'm talking two teams pushing as hard as possible. What should have been a great game, and this goes for the whole damn season as well, was made shit by so many people being selfish to their teammates, and no matter my justification, I became part of it.

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