December 2, 1997

Last night's game was... interesting. In the old Chinese curse kinda way. Actually... maybe not, but something that was a close cousin to that feeling and thought. I'm not exactly sure if it was glorious or something else entirely. It was hard fought and I had a lot of fun, all in all, and I do know that I played well. So that was sweet to know. And there were a lot of things going on at once. The first was that the other team had four substitutes on top of the full team. We had only eight players, so we had the moral upperhand from the beginning. *grin* As if morality has anything to do with the game... though, I guess, for me, it does have a significant standing, because I have more fun when I feel like I'm doing the right thing. It's an odd thing to understand.

On the other hand, it was another of those teams where the guys often treat the gals as if they were playing field dummies, or something, and it was making me just completely boggled. It was to such an extent that I realized it was just no use being angry. They were just being utterly stupid, especially when they had a third again the number of people simply *ON* the field. It just boggled my mind when the guys on their team made four passes, but only and solely and completely and totally only to their own men. I took it away from them and fell down laughing. It is a whole lot easier defending against half a team. Funny that. Incredibly funny, sometimes. It was just so weird to play a team and only be on the guys and when I could take them all out of the play there was no play.

Sadly, I respected them a little bit more than that the first half, and was playing the gals and they scored something like three goals? Two of which our goalie got a hand on, one of which he got a hand on and just kinda dropped. He kicked himself, but we all told him it was okay. It wasn't as if the score were actually important or anything. It was the play. I learned something of what they were doing, and shut them down for the entire second half of the first half and all of the second half by just playing their guys and laughing at them. That was quite a lot of fun. Especially when I was proven right again and again and again by just taking the ball away from them again and again and again. They didn't score once in the second half. Their only clean shots on the goal were by their women, who only got rebounds and missed crosses because their men accidentally managed to miss their own men. It was so frustrating to see, though. The other problem as that their women were just used to it, so when the occasional guy actually passed to a gal, she would be surprised nigh unto panic and muff whatever she was doing.

At half time, the referee called me over and gave me a few tips on trapping the ball and getting better control of it. Leaning forward when the ball would come to me, in order to trap the ball to my foot. It would give me a few moments extra time if someone was coming to me, to have the ball instantly available for a touch, and with real control of the ball, I could do more with it than just knocking it away. She was real enthusiastic about me and said that she could see me always getting *to* the ball, and she just wanted it so that I could do more with it once I got it. I thanked her. It was kinda cool to know that she thought I was hustling and getting where I needed to be, cutting them off, getting good body placement to put myself always, always, always between their shot and the goal, between myself and their passes. By the second half I was picking off passes I couldn't even see simply because I was running in the right direction with the right position between the two players along the line of interception. Picking off a few with my back foot, inside heel, simply because it happened to be in the way. That was an interesting feeling to have.

On one of those, I was charging down the middle of the field as someone was picking up the wing, and another the other wing, and I got the in-between pass right in the side of the head. Ooof. Luckily, I saw that one out of my peripheral vision and braced enough that it didn't hurt, and went right to Michael's foot. That was fun.

And there was another time when a guy that probably massed about twice what I do went charging down the side of the field, tried to get through me by running through me, and I just got low enough of a center of gravity that he just bounced a few times. That was another odd thing, when it felt like it shouldn't have been possible. But I managed to force him outside, and just at the end line when he tried to turn the ball for a shot, of all things when he had *two* women trailing him that were both wide open, I poked it away at the last second; but the whole run took a lot of out of me, and it took me a long time to get my breath back.

No subs, and hour and a half of running full speed after anything that looked, even a little bit, like a ball. Ooof. I should be getting used to it, what with all the games where we're short people, especially for the Red Herrings, but I don't think I ever really will, or else I'll be in far better shape than I have any right to be in. By the end of the game I was having to take quite a while to catch my breath again after a hard run, but was still making them.

I'm not really sure why. I mean. I should have been just dogging it. I was tired enough that anyone would have excused me from running, but there I was doing wind sprints on legs that were just about to cramp. How odd. I'm still not sure why.

Morning visit to Victor's was fun, and since it was sunny out we came to work in the Stoat, with people kinda grinning at the open top and the fur hats and the heavy coats. But it was good to be out in the sunshine. The weather's turned clear and cold. Icy in the mornings, foggy in the evenings, and so cold the windows leak drafts of ice at night... I keep wanting to be sure that the soft drinks don't freeze out on the porch. Out here, when it's clear, it's cold, when it clouds over, it warms up, so that accounts, in part, for why snow is so rare around here.

More bug fixes and stuff. Getting finished will be good, but there's still work getting there. And it's mostly down the the bugs that I can't even recreate correctly. Yeesh.

So I'm just sitting around semi-frustrated and somewhat at loose ends. The two times that I've asked for re-creations, the submitter's found that they can't recreate it, either, so that's been okay.

Tamales. I can only think of tamales for dinner, but I have a deacons' meeting tonight first. Advent starts this coming Sunday and we have the usual workshop and Things that Must be Done before the rest of the season comes to bear. It'll be busy, as ever.

Though, I'll admit that after last night's game I've been far more cheerful. So that's good. It's good to know that I can, by normal measurements 'fail' at something (i.e. the other team won) but still feel, deeply, that I did pretty well anyway. That I played well and hard and did the best that I could do. It really feels good to have that solid an independence between common measurement and my self-worth feelings, and that's a kind of vast improvement for me.

So, hoorah!

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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