Are you ready for some football? (CASS, 2013)

Are you ready for some football? (CASS, 2013)

A friend from work asked me if I wanted to join a football league a couple of months back.
This question a year ago would have elicited quite a chuckle from me, and a hearty “NO.”
But I thought… “Hey. That sounds kinda badass.”
Plus, I have started a new “CASS, 2013” campaign, wherein I say yes to everything active.
Because most things I have not tried, and would not have tried before.

For weeks my friend pumped me up.
Offered her brother’s used cleets.
That her boyfriend wanted me on the team because “I lit up a room,” and he thought I “would bring a light to the team.”
She assured me that not much was expected of the girls on the team.
Which was okay, considering I had never played not one sport in my entire life.

A few of my formative years in jazz dance, with a poorly executed “Luck Be A Lady” routine under my belt aside..
I was 11 in this picture.
I do not look 11.
This explains “dating” men in their early 20s during that time..
(just kidding, they were pedophiles)
Right around this age, I was told for the first time by one of the boys in my neighborhood that I would be “so hot if I just lost some weight.”
Thinking back.. I had no idea what that meant.
“Losing weight” was an extremely foreign concept to me, and I’m pretty sure I was too ashamed to ask anyone about it.

Back to football.
Later, my friend would tell me that she was not exactly on the team at all.
She wondered if that would hinder my desire to play..
Uh. Yes? My only friend on the team is not actually on the team, and she wouldn’t be at a lot of the games because of class?
But I decided quitting was against all that is CASS, 2013.

Due to pretty shitty weather conditions, and some scheduling conflicts, the team was unable to practice beforehand.
The quarterback, and my friend’s boyfriend, told me I should meet him at the field to watch a game before ours to get the gist.

When I got there.. Well..
I pulled my car up across the street, took a few deep breaths, and tried to pump myself up.
I repeated to myself.. “This is not going to kill you.”
But I could see that there was a lot going on.
Things that terrified me.

It was also about 37 degrees, a little rainy, and hella gray.

I walked onto the field, and spotted the boyfriend immediately.
My heart raced as I watched people run yards up and down the field, jumping, and catching, and colliding with other players.
Rolling around on the ground.
It was fast-paced.. And all I could think about was breaking my fingers.
(I think about that a lot, oddly)
Ben, the boyfriend, assured me that this was Varsity I was having palpitations over.
That we were JV.
That our team sucked, and it was not at all like this.
We circled the field, and settled in to watch some plays, while he gave me a rundown of the rules.
Hut Hut.

Shocking news included:
To make sure that things are even, every third play had to be a “girl play.”
Meaning the ball must be passed to a girl every third time it is passed.
The girls, too, must do the blocking. They are the ones on the front line. (that’s what it’s called, right?)
He gave me a tutorial on blocking..
“Lower your center of gravity.. And go straight for the tits.”
I was informed about a list of plays.. He had a little card, with 6 different played on it.
They were color-coded, and pretty cute, but it was mostly like trying to read Japanese for me.
My fear got the best of me for a couple of minutes, and my eye-holes actually sprang a bit of a leak.
Ben kept saying, “It’s going to be fun!” and patting me on the back.
I didn’t believe him.
CASS, 2013!

I snapped a few photos, before he suggested we throw the ball around a bit.
I would be expected to throw and catch a fucking ball?

Other players from our team started to trickle in.
I had only met two of them prior to this occasion..
One was incredibly intoxicated then, and didn’t seem to remember this interaction when we got to the field.
The other ladies showed up..
Uninterested in making my acquaintance.

The time was ticking down to game time..
Juan, my ex-sister-in-law, Brad, and my other friend showed up to cheer me on.
It felt good to have my people there.

Ben asked, “Do you want to start?”
Eff no to the extreme!

The game started without me, and I kind of watched..
About 5 minutes in, someone yelled my name, and I was instructed to get out there.
They put me in front of the biggest, heartiest lady on the other team.
I had to ask later, “What am I supposed to be doing exactly?”
Blocking her. Duh. With my hands and my body.

I had become a Nike commercial.

Once I was on the field, I had lost that fear I had before it.
But I was still confused as to what I was supposed to be doing at any given moment.
We would go into a huddle, and Ben would take out the list of plays, flash them in my face for 3.2 seconds, then shove them back into his pocket.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t gather much from tiny little color-coded arrows on an index card.
Even if it was like, “Go that way” my brain was still like, “AND DO WHAT, EXACTLY?”

As the game went on, I realized just how competitive my team was.
The girls talked shit about their opponents, and one of them was ALL OVER THE FUCKING FIELD LIKE A CHAMP.
One of them.. (and only one) would tell me what to do.
She helped immensely.
Overall, they seemed disappointed by my presence. A noob.

The time started ticking down, and things got more and more intense.
I should say… Ben got more intense.
He started barking orders at the team.
Freaking out about time, and telling us to get back to the line after plays.
I never knew where the line was, and no one else was doing it.

Thrice times he shoved me to get there.
Each time, I laughed to myself in disbelief.

For a couple of months, my friends had told me that this game was all in fun.
That the team was terrible, and it was all good times.
This was not what happened on the field.

About 10 minutes into playing, my entourage left.
It made the game worse for me.
All the fun disappeared.

After the game (We lost by 4 touchdowns), my friend told me all sorts of information that would have been good to have before going in.
Such as:
People had quit the team in the past because of Ben’s competitiveness, and barking.
This was the reason she didn’t play.
He had promised that this time it would be all for fun.
That the girls on the team were girls she had dealt with before, had told me about, and that they were never very nice.
She had left out that they were on the team at all.
I told her that I hadn’t really felt welcomed, as all of the other members knew each other..
That it was a little more competitive than I thought I could handle for a first go at team sports.
That it was nice to try, but didn’t think the team would appreciate my “light”.

Ben approached and was visibly upset by the loss.
He talked about losing by 4 touchdowns, and told me we just had to practice!
And he would be vigilant about it!

Just. No.

Within earshot of the team. *cringe* Now I’m a crybaby.
He was so upset he said, “I don’t need you to be critical of my team right now.”
I’m fucking ghost like Swayze.

I do not have one competitive bone in my body.
Not one. Maybe I should?
I have never wanted, or tried to do anything better than someone else.
I try to do the best that I can.. (when I try, of course… which is the point of CASS, 2013!)

I’m leaving team sports open, though..
I think I would have liked it a lot better had I known the team.
Had the team been on the same level as I was.
I know you have to start somewhere…
But I was thinking more beginner than intermediate.

I’m going to have to hang up my jersey for now..

And though I got to push that big bitch around a bit..
(she definitely got away most times, and would shout, “I’m open!” while I watched from a couple of yards away)
I would not Cassassinate my opponents just yet.

There’s always the next thing.

On a sidenote, I really enjoy boxing.
With a bag, and not someone else’s face..
I’m looking into exploring that more.
You’ll be hearing about it.