Never have I seen a more unlikely rag tag band of winning superheroes.
Through some stroke of incredible luck my Men’s over 30 Division III soccer team stumbled into the league championship today. On Delta Park’s Strasser field, an artificial turf pitch perfect for inclement weather, we faced off against a 10-0 team who’d beaten us 2-1 twice during the season. Interestingly, we had the run of play for the first half and even took a 1-0 lead into half time.
The opposition evened the score mid-way through the second as our midfield and defense began to tucker out, because we are, after all, a bunch of out of shape has-beens and not-so-goods. We more or less packed the back and iced the puck until regulation ran out. Some genius strategies are intentional; some are borne of desperation. You can guess which this was.
Because other games were scheduled to be played on Strasser, our game went immediately to penalty kicks once regular time expired. In this scenario, each team selects five playersÂ—all of whom must have been in the game at the end of regulationÂ—and the two teams take turns attempting penalty kicks. Best of five wins. If it’s tied after five, then we go player by player through the rest of the on field roster until somebody makes and somebody misses.
Our first shot was in and their first missed. I shot second and slotted mine nicely. Indeed, I could go on at length about how great a shot it was: low, hard, perfectly in the corner, etc., etc. Even if their keeper had been other than the tall, immobile fellow he was he couldn’t have saved it. Their second shooter scored as well when the ball went through our keeper’s legs. Painful, that. Both third and fourth shooters scored. Our fifth shooter missed over the bar by 6 inches. Their keeper ended up being their fifth shooter. He helpfully kicked it wide, and suddenly we became a most improbable set of league champions and proud owners of white tee-shirts which proclaimed the same. (Though the word “improbable” is not technically on the tee-shirt, it should be.)
I returned to Salem basking in this victorious glow and nursing a pretty unhappy calf muscle. Somewhere in the aforementioned proceedings I got kicked hard along the side of the shin, and ice, Advil, and elevation were all the new game plan until Erin, Jonah, and I departed for a marvelous party this evening at Phil and Sarah’s.
This assemblage held the distinction of bringing together the most recent children of Sprague’s teaching staff, so we had little Liam, Jonah, Marc, and Laura to keep adults distracted and amused throughout the evening. The rest of us, who included David, Heather, Erin, me, Phil, Sarah, Matt, Ginger, Leif, Kathy, Mark, and Sheri, ate terrific food, conversed on a varied of topics, and admired Phil and Sarah’s beautiful house (love the sun room!). Good times.