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dad soccer

I really look forward to Wednesdays. Wednesdays are when Tom goes to play futsal with his team, which is made up of dads from my kids’ school. And I submit that hearing the recaps of those games is better than any entertainment you might pay to experience.

But let’s back up. If you don’t live in Portland or some other hipster town (or South America), you might not even know what futsal is. Futsal is indoor soccer, but with different rules, none of which I know. My only real knowledge about futsal is that every adult I’ve met who has suffered bodily injury during adulthood has done it playing futsal. There’s Keil, who broke his toe. There’s Matt, who tore his ACL. There’s Eden, who broke her elbow PRACTICING futsal in her driveway. Tom is not particularly prone to injury, but neither would I describe him as particularly body-aware. So I had real anxiety about Tom playing on a futsal team.

My anxiety ratcheted up to a fever pitch when I found out that Tom’s first game would be played at 10:20 PM. I mean, by 10:20 PM I’ve been in bed for an hour and twenty minutes, if I’ve played my evening right. As for Tom, the only thing I can envision him doing well and with intention at 10:20 PM is watching HBO. Maybe brushing his teeth. MAYBE folding laundry, but only if it’s all towels. But that’s it. Futsal at 10:20 PM!! No wonder people dropped like flies playing the sport.


Tom wasn’t having any of my doubt. Dressing for the first game, he pulled on his shin guards, which seemed to cover alarmingly small acreage on his long white shins, and a pair of striped knee socks. Then he pulled out a pair of sports glasses. I didn’t realize he HAD sports glasses, and told him so. “Remember,” he told me, rolling his eyes. “I got them for squash.” Tom has played squash exactly twice. Which puts the use-per-wear on his sports glasses, I’m guessing, at approximately $150. More critically, he hasn’t played squash in about three years, so we were working with an old prescription and impaired vision. Jesus! Why didn’t he just stay home and let me break his legs with a hammer? It would be faster and I wouldn’t have to wait up.

Tom left for the game, and I waited at home, anxiously. I looked back at the text I’d gotten from our friend Ethan, who plays in a Monday night league, and had lost his first game only two days before. The text was a photo of his skinned arm, and a message: “They made me bleed my own blood.” I kept waiting for Tom, until about 9:30, when I fell asleep. Around midnight, I was woken up by Tom, who was scarily alert and high off adrenaline. “We won,” he crowed. I dug deeper, and learned that the other team, ManChestHair United—while comprised of younger, more able-bodied men—had had no subs during the game. Meawhile, Tom’s team, with a deep, enthusiastic bench, had subbed players every 90 seconds. No matter. Tom was SO HAPPY. So I was happy.

This week’s game was a different story. The excitement of the first game having worn off, Jeremy, the team leader, was having difficulty fielding a full five-man team for the game. Tom showed me the potential line-up. Tom was listed as a “Yes (but likely drunk),” because he was going to the game straight from a dinner out. Patrick was listed as “Yes (with weird fluid).” Most of the other players were listed as “No” or “???”

“Look at this!,” Tom complained, thrusting his phone in my face. “Just look at it! I mean, I have ass stitches and I’m playing.” Tom had gotten stitches on his ass while skiing the weekend prior, and now he apparently intended to lord those ass stitches over achier, more exhausted teammates. I asked him about Patrick’s weird fluids–what kind of fluids? Were they from last week’s game? And how could fluids last seven days? I mean, I practiced yoga with Patrick. How could a dude that bendy have been wrecked by a single futsal game? Another teammate, Todd, could apparently barely walk. My old doubts started to come back. Maybe these guys WERE too old to play futsal.


patrick. warmups.

But they’d won their first game, hadn’t they? I watched Tom leave for his second game (start time, 11:00 PM), and tried to put my fears to rest.

Well, they lost. Recapping the second game, Tom focused less on his team’s performance than the fact that two of the players on the other team were full-time soccer coaches. “Division 5! It’s total bullshit that those guys signed up for Division 5! I mean, I’m a lawyer!” Tom told Finn the score was 7-1 and mentioned that the other team had cheered when Tom’s team scored, so it didn’t sound TOO bad. I mean, the cheering from the other team sounded fun, if a little pathetic. But Patrick told me afterwards that they have to stop keeping score after a certain point and that the score was more like 20-1. Which makes me want to cry.

But it’s ok. Tom’s not injured (so far) and he’s having fun, and really, that’s all you can ask for when it comes to dad soccer.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. My 50 year old white dude husband and my 18 year old young stud son ride motocross together. It’s pathetic, really, the sad discrepancy between the young and the old. It would be mildly entertaining were it not so actually dangerous. I’ve told them both that if either comes home in a sip-and-puff* they are on their own.

    *A sip-and-puff is family code for the mouth-operated wheelchairs used by quadriplegics.It may sound harsh, but I didn’t sign up for that sh$t in cases of self-inflicted wounds in adult males.

    February 22, 2014
  2. Drtooba #

    Yoona, that is not Helen’s Patrick? Great post. Makes me appreciate Tom and all men like him.

    January 28, 2014
  3. Christina Martinson #

    I sent this to my husband yesterday, because it reminds me of how he talks about his pick-up basketball game at the JCC. It’s a mix of old Jewish guys with plastic glasses and the occasional ringer from Duke who just wants bonus play time.

    My son describes the game as “Big boys miss hoops & fall down.” We had to stop taking him to watch after a while, because he said “Missed it, Missed it again” after every missed shot and was suddenly very unpopular for a 2 year old who looks like a cherub.

    Anyway, last night, my husband came home from his game red-faced and sweaty as usual. Apparently, someone elbowed him in the jaw and then he took a pass to the face. He’s fine, but I wanted to laugh just thinking about all of the dad injuries out there!

    And I am so grateful he doesn’t play hockey.

    January 24, 2014
    • so funny. was thinking of taking my boys to a game of their dad’s and now having second thoughts…

      January 25, 2014
  4. That ID picture rocks!

    Go figure that Ann Arbor has futsal, too. I actually coached my girls’ team when they were 10. Put aside I’d never heard of futsal and my knowledge of soccer is about the same level as my knowledge of astrophysics… I played with the kids a few times and it was suicide. Good luck to Tom.

    January 24, 2014
    • Of course Ann Arbor has futsal. College towns have a lot of overlap with hipster towns. Go you on the coaching!

      January 25, 2014
  5. At least your hub’s injuries are coming from a legitimized (organized) sport. Around here I have to remind my old guy to stretch before he takes the trash to the curb. (in his defense our driveway is a fairly steep incline, ahem!).

    January 24, 2014
  6. Meg #

    I’m stuck envisioning how Tom got the ass stitches. How does that happen? Rocks? An errant pole? Was he helicopter skiing? Because that is the only real excuse for an injury like that…

    January 23, 2014
    • he sat down hard on his own ski edge. i really want to blog about the whole incident but i can’t find a good theme for it, and i need a good theme to hide the fact that the post would really just be a post devoted to tom’s ass wound. also he would never let me post the selfie he took of his ass, and then what would be the point…

      January 23, 2014
  7. THAT ID!!! Is Portland Futsal so highly regulated that everyone must be registered and badged by the governing body of the city’s rec leagues? Is Portland Parks and Rec in cahoots with the NSA?

    Also, if Futsal were the Hunger Games (and it kind of sounds like it), Tom’s continued survival makes him Katniss Everdeen, which is awesome. Being married to a Katniss is definitely worth bragging about.

    January 23, 2014
    • the ID slays me. i mean, i’ve taken some bad ID photos in my time, but man. and yes you raise a good point, why the need for ID? it’s probably to make the middle aged people there feel more comfortable, since they are used to bureaucracy. all i have to say to tom is “jennifer lawrence” and he freaks out, so hopefully he will be happy about your katniss everdeen analogy. although i don’t think he freaks out about her because he wants to BE her

      January 23, 2014
  8. Oh my! This just made me laugh and laugh. Reminds me of my husband and his friends when they used to play roller hockey (although they were in their mid-20’s then). I should mention futsal to him, he already has a bruised hamstring from jumping around like a child at an indoor trampoline center, I’m sure he’d be up for it! Lol Great story!

    January 23, 2014
    • roller derby! now that sounds like it could do some real damage

      January 23, 2014
      • Yeah…maybe! But, the shorts and socks he’d rock! *cringe*

        January 23, 2014

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