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Recently I joined an indoor soccer league. We play on artificial turf inside a big warehouse. You might wonder why Californians need to play sports inside. Answer: Sometimes it is too sunny.

Actually, indoor soccer is about twice as fun as outdoor soccer owing to the fact you can play the ball off the walls, giving the game a new dimension. It's ridiculously fun.

I joined the over-30 coed league. I figured that guaranteed I wouldn't be the worst player on the field at any given time. What I didn't count on is that due to a schedule misfire, my team got lumped with the over-18 league and there was no practical way to fix it because the over-30 league was filled. We knew the younger league would be stiffer competition, but our players are reasonably fit for our ages, so how bad could it be? Plus our women are exceptionally good, and that's generally the key to winning in a coed league.

On Friday we played a team named Arsenal. The team name was our first clue we were in trouble. Let me tell you how that went.

Before the match I was doing some stretching and trying to scope out the players for Arsenal as they gathered. It was embarrassing having them near our team because it looked like some sort of educational film where we represented the "after" to their "before exposure to toxic chemicals." They were clearly elite athletes, possibly the products of genetic engineering. While I grunted and strained to keep one leg straight while touching my shin, an opposing player was scratching an itch on his back with his toes. While I was doing a little running in place, knees high, an opposing player was hovering six inches above the ground in a lotus position. He seemed to be glowing.

At first glance I noticed that their women were petite and unimposing. I breathed a sigh of relief until one of them stretched, and her long soccer shorts hiked up a bit. Oh God. Her thighs looked like The Incredible Hulk posing in front of a mirror. I doubt she even owns an automobile. I assume she leaps from one town to the next.

Her ball skills were awesome. During the game I made a lucky guess on which way she planned to maneuver and won the ball against all odds. This miracle lasted about one second until she body-checked me so hard I left a Shroud of Turin-like impression in the wall, except mine was screaming.

The game became the soccer equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters versus seven clumps of moss. Arsenal scored at will, often with trick shots. We ran, they glided. I literally counted the players on the field to convince myself they weren't playing with too many. I think some of them were holograms but I can't prove it. It was a massacre.

Before long the score was 12-0, still with plenty of time on the clock. I overheard one of the Arsenal players tell his team "Just header goals from now on." I guess that was intended to keep us from feeling bad about the score. It didn't work.

I wasn't clear if some sort of league "mercy rule" went into effect or the score keeper just got a bad case of carpal tunnel from pressing the button so often, but the score board stayed at 12 while our 60-year old keeper replayed the final scene from Bonnie and Clyde, except with soccer balls. I think we held them under triple digits.

In the end we only suffered three injuries, so most of us will be back again this Friday. We're hoping to do better, and by that I mean only two injuries.
 
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Feb 11, 2009
I'm arriving late to this post, but I just had to say that I had the very same thing happen to me while I was in over-30 coed soccer; right down to the contusions I suffered.

Well, I don't think that the other team were named Arsenal. Other than that, it was pretty similar.

One good thing that happened was that one of the young girls got between me and the ball by sticking her rear end right into my groin. I stopped cold for a minute or so. It was the most action I had got in years.
 
 
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Feb 8, 2009
Hey I was surfing around looking for a place to play indoor soccer for a beginner in the Boston area (since found a place) and came across your post.

I joined this site solely to express how hilarious your account of your game was. I'm in my thirties and athletic but never played soccer before and I can picture myself in a similar situation soon.
thanks bro and now I'm off to search your other posts in case I missed anything.
If I have an experience on the my first soccer night next week anywhere near as funny I'll post it here.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 8, 2009
In grad school, I played with (and against) the crazy European soccer players. They're good, but the trick is to NOT try and take the ball. The trick is to try and be the biggest pain in the butt for them that you possibly, possibly can, by constantly blocking the ball with no regard for the fact that they'll probably get it back 9 times out of 10.

They don't ever seem to catch on to this, and you can eventually wear them down and frustrate them into making a mistake. Worst case scenario, you only lose by a dozen instead of three dozen. ;)

No advice for the super-fast guys, though. I'm pretty nimble, and there's always one guy on the field who runs like a freaking Olympic 100m-dash champion. Amongst the common folk, I'm a speeding bullet, but against that one guy, I'm a slug. So you're on your own with that problem.
 
 
Feb 7, 2009
It's a bad idea to interact with or even acknowledge the existence of people under the age of 27 if you're over 30 and want to maintain the illusion that you are not falling completely apart.

I used to go to punk concerts all the time. I thought I had sufficiently hipped up for the last one I went to, at the age of about 31. A younger guy told me that everyone was looking at me because I looked like an accountant.

I'm going to take up bingo. Bingo chicks think I'm smokin'.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 4, 2009
"...until she body-checked me so hard I left a Shroud of Turin-like impression in the wall, except mine was screaming."

This made me laugh out loud. Thank you.
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
That's something you have to avoid: over 30 guys playing soccer against 2x dudes???
only if they used to be pros, otherwise you get your ass kicked big time.

Lol for Diedo Maradona meets Chuck Norris!!!
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
As an 18 year old who has played in those indoor leagues, and has been clobbered by 10 year olds in indoor soccer,I was crying with laughter throughout this entire post. The "Arsenal" bit really got me.

Try to intimidate your opponents. Most successful soccer clubs have impressive names and a fancy suffix or prefix: AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc. So put them all together:

AC Real United FC.

They won't even show up. They'll think you're like Diego Maradona meets Chuck Norris in a bad mood.
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
Scott - It was good to see you on CNBC last night. It would appear that you've made remarkable progress on your voice. Keep up the great work.
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
Indoor is a lot of fun, and very hard work to boot. I am looking forward to my regular session tonight even more now. Play together regularly and you will get the hang of it, and the legs for it.

I wonder if you play a 'not over head height' rule? We did use to play that rule but got bored of the stop start that this produced.
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
As North Americans frequently cite low scoring as a negative in the game, one assumes your team would be eligible for an award for helping the advancement of the sport.
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
Indoor football is a great alternative to playing outside on grass, especially here in rainy Manchester (home of the greatest football club in the hardest football league, Manchester United!!) but we consider bouncing the ball off the wall as cheating.

The only proper "wall" is to use a teammate to bounce the ball off, a skill which Arsenal's (London team) young players manage admirably.

Try to avoid playing against teams with grandiose names, such as Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal, etc as pointed out above. Definitely avoid playing teams with Real, Deportivo, River, Boca, El, etc. in their names.

And by convention teams like yours are known here as "The Also-Rans"
 
 
Feb 3, 2009
Bear in mind that in virtually every country outwith North America, Football is the number 1 team sport. Your average European or South American pretty much grows up with the game and will have a surprising level of ability as an adult.
So, if you find yourself facing a team comprising a number of foreigners at any point in the future, prepare yourself for another gubbing.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 3, 2009
Hey Scott,

I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. I saw this and I thought it might interst you (about doomsday argument):
http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2009/02/02/the_doomsday_ar.html

Cheers !!
 
 
Feb 2, 2009
Best advice for keeping goals out: Have full backs who stay back and simply aim to get between the ball and the goal - don't try to tackle, just block. Next step is to anticipate who else may get passed the ball and get in their way too. Once you can keep the goals down to a few per game, then try and work the ball to your forwards to get goals, but focus on defence all the same.
 
 
Feb 2, 2009
OMG- this had me almost rolling on the floor. As a mom of three kids, two of whom are in soccer, I know indoor leagues. They are alot of fun but even at a young age they are BRUTAL. There seems to be an unspoken rule that there are really no rules at all. Good luck to you.
 
 
Feb 2, 2009
As a soccer referee, I commend you and your team for the attempt. It does sound like your opponents weren't completely unreasonable although I prefer the "at least five passes" rule though once they've run the score up a bit. Keep playing and maybe some team practice? Indoor is a much faster game than outdoor soccer and the short field emphasizes passing (even to yourself with the wall!).

Hilarious post, btw!
 
 
Feb 2, 2009
grats to you for playing adult sports. it takes some special virtues(or else crippling vices) to make the effort and it is good for your health.
 
 
Feb 2, 2009
Scott, you need to get a TWITTER profile and start posting during the day. I'm sure you have the iPhone and could easily post pics for us to twit at on the fly. I'm pretty sure you would enjoy the heck out of it.
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 2, 2009
The good news for your team Scott, is that the clumps of moss win against the Boston Globetrotters, because the Globetrotters are from Harlem! It may be a technicality, but in my book, it's a chance.
 
 
Feb 2, 2009
That was hilarious, I laughed all the way through the posting. Last year, I tried indoor football - it was fun, but afterwards I found myself redfaced and breathless on the floor. I'd rather watch the (outdoor) game from the stand ;-)
 
 
 
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