This year I made a new group of extremely athletic friends. They invited me to join two intramural teams with them one being dodge ball and one being soccer. Now I have played soccer since I was 4 years old. I played AYSO in Redondo Beach, made Select and All Star teams, played on two different club teams and also played in high school. Soccer had always been a passion of mine. Being a midfielder, sprinting up the sidelines and passing the ball to someone who scores is by far one of the most rewarding and amazing feelings of all time. Then I got to high school and soccer suddenly became political. It was no longer about the game and having fun, but about who could flirt more with the coach and get onto varsity. High school soccer ruined the sport I was so madly in love with for me and after my junior year of high school I didn't touch a soccer ball again... until this year.
In intramural soccer you get to form a co-ed team. At all times there has to be an even number of girls as guys on the field and an upside is that if a girl scores a goal it is 2 points rather than 1. Even though I had to buy cleats, since I had pretty much sworn off soccer forever and even though I didn't buy shin guards and got kicked a million times, I am so happy that I participated. Whether you have had a lot of experience with soccer or have never touched a ball in your life you are welcome to play. You get to make up your own stupid team names and you play 3 games not including playoffs and finals.
I had an absolute blast being out on the field again in a non-competitive fun environment. Running up and down the field again, even though I was completely out of shape, kicking the ball to teammates and getting super excited when we made a goal made me remember why I loved this sport so much and also made me really miss it. The atmosphere and people were great fun.
However, there is of course a negative side to intramural soccer. First of all our games were on Sunday, therefore many teams would forfeit the games and not even have the decency to let anyone know that they weren't going to show up because they were too hung over from the night before. Also, the referees did not watch closely enough or even care if someone did an illegal throw in or tackled you to the floor. And lastly, all of the anger of losing and my own teammates making stupid decisions all rushed back at me at once in one of our games, reminding me of one of the main reasons I stopped playing soccer. I am too passionate about the game and I get way too angry.
Overall though intramural soccer was awesome. It's a great way to get your friends together to do something fun and active rather than sitting around staring at each other getting fat or playing beer pong. The people are fun, the game is fun and it is much more organized than I had ever expected it to be.
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