last night on turf

FC Davis game 050722

More soccer! This sketch from May was done at the FC Davis match against a team from Oakland, played at the Playfields turf field in Davis. It was the AYSO United Davis fundraiser evening, where people involved with the club went to Sudwerk’s beer garden and had food and drink, before walking as a big group over the I-80 overpass to Playfields to the game, to support the local FC Davis team. The last time I watched FC Davis they were still playing at Aggie Stadium (they were a brand new club then) – see https://petescully.com/2018/06/25/saturday-nights-down-at-fc-davis/ – so it was nice to watch them again, and I love their black Admiral shirts (would love to get me one of those). My wife was chatting with an old friend she’s known since school while I sketched and chatted to others I know; Davis ended up winning the game, and a little more beer was had. Playfields is where I’ve coached a lot of youth soccer practices and games over the years so I’m well familiar with that surface, which is not the greatest field to play on. I actually did play a game myself before Christmas; I’ve not played in years and years, the last time I actually played was a kickaround game with students and faculty from our department in about 2013, when I stretched too hard for a cross and pulled a leg muscle, making it hard to walk for a few weeks, and I gave up then and stuck to coaching. This recent game was for over-40s in one of the local ‘pick-up’ leagues (well it was for men over 40 – though most were over 50 and still twice as fit as me – but women needed only be over 30, and they were about 100 times fitter and faster than me) (despite my recent running and fitness successes, getting decent times in the 5k races, I’ve a long way to go). One of the parents on our youth team invited some of us to take part as they needed players for their team, and it turned out they were going to be up against one of the best teams in the league. It was about six or seven a side, depending on who came, and was pretty informal, I just had to wear orange. Hot off my best ever time in the recent 5k Turkey Trot, plus lots of technical practice training 13 year olds to play club league, I felt pretty good. It was raining too and I don’t mind that. Except, when it rains, the astroturf of Playfields becomes like an air-hockey table, and my steamed-up glasses become fairly useless. They kept falling off too – I really needed a strap – to the point where I would just take them off and hold them, trying to pass to the orange blur but stay away from the blue blur. My opponents were friendly and I joked with them, but they were really good. I did score though, which was unexpected, and put us 2-1 into the lead. Lovely goal as well, considering I can’t usually hit a barn door with a banjo* (*this is a phrase I think I’ve picked up here, not typically something someone from Burnt Oak would use), I hit the target a few other times too. Most unlike me, made it worth it. But I also hit the deck time after time, mostly just slipping over on the plastic ground. I called my self “The Man Who Fell To Turf”. Those little black beads of plastic that get kicked up were just too much for my turf shoes to take. I fell a couple of times really hard, covering my legs in bruises and hurting my arm, and my opponent helped me up a lot of times. In the end I was physically hammered, although I wouldn’t actually stop playing or rest, I dropped back into defense to make a few calamitous clearances. We ended up losing about 5-2 I think it was. I had a lot more sympathy for the players I have been coaching after that experience! It did help me visualize some things I’d been coaching too. I don’t know if I could do it regularly, a lot of people my age do and it’s great for them, but I hurt so much for about a week afterwards. I wouldn’t mind so much playing on grass maybe, but that hard surface took it out of me. So I think the FC Davis players did a great job playing on it. It’s a bit like when I draw on a certain type of paper and think, oh this paper is bad, you can’t draw on this, and then you see someone else drawing beautifully on the same paper and you think, hey maybe it’s me, I need to up my game.

The footy is back this weekend. Premier League, that is. Spurs kick off against Southampton tomorrow morning. It will be a long season…

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