Last week, in an effort to expand my horizons, I attended my first ever soccer game.
OK, thats not true. Ronnie and I have some friends, whose daughter, Marisa, is a member of the Warner Robins High School soccer team, and I went to see her play in her first varsity game.
But attending last weeks event did expand my horizons, so I am going to stick to my story.
In the journey of raising our boys, we never tried soccer. Baseball, football, basketball -- Ronnie and Scotty played all of these for years. But soccer never made it on our radar -- maybe because neither of us were familiar with the sport.
For whatever reason, soccer had eluded me until last week, when I sat in the cold and a drizzling rain to watch the Warner Robins High girls soccer game.
I knew that in other parts of the world the sport is referred to as football, so I was expecting a little more of a football type game with organized plays that I would understand, flags in the air, that sort of thing.
Before every soccer mom in the area starts emailing me in defense of the fact that there are plays in soccer, let me assure you that after I watched for a while, I figured that out.
I didnt figure out the plays, but I did figure out there was something going on on the field.
So while my first experience with the game of soccer was sort of a learning experience -- I learned I need a tutorial about the game or a book, Soccer for Dummies maybe -- I did pick up on a couple of things.
First of all, people who play soccer are athletes of the highest degree. There were two halves in the game of 40 minutes each, and those kids were running the entire time. I dont mean running like from home to first and then stopping or moving the ball 10 yards on a football field and then stopping. I mean those girls ran nonstop for 40 minutes.
I also learned that playing a sport has more to do with the passion within a player than I had realized.
There wasnt a large crowd gathered -- it was freezing cold and raining some -- so the girls on the field werent playing for the cheers of a large fan base.
There is something gripping in watching athletes compete just for the thrill of playing that is actually hard to put into words.
So now that I am a soccer fan, I plan on becoming a student of the game and learning some, so I can cheer at the appropriate times.
Marisa -- I thought it was important to mention her name again to sufficiently embarrass her -- is only in ninth grade, so that gives me four whole years of watching soccer.
I have already made big strides in my knowledge about the game by learning that the word is spelled with two Cs -- not with two Es as I have been doing all these years.
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